Access to cash value assumes the contract qualifies as life insurance under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 7702. Most distributions are taxed on a first-in/first-out basis if the contract remains in force and meets the non-MEC (modified endowment contract) definitions of IRC Section 7702A. But if it is a MEC, then any distributions taken from the policy will generally be taxable and subject to a 10% penalty tax if the policy owner is 59½ or younger. If loans or partial surrenders are taken, the death benefit payable to beneficiaries will be reduced. Surrender charges may apply for early surrenders and partial surrenders. Surrenders may be subject to income tax.