If you own a life insurance policy that you no longer want or need, generally there are two choices: surrender the policy for its cash value or allow it to lapse.
Life settlements present a third option: selling your policy to an entity other than the insurance company that issued the policy. To receive a lump sum payment – amount more than the policy’s cash surrender value, but less than the net death benefit.
When you sell your life insurance policy, the buyer agrees to pay any additional premiums that might be required to support the cost of the policy for as long as you live. In exchange, the buyer will receive the death benefit upon death.