This refers to a range of products letting you access the equity tied up in your home if you are over 55.
You can take the money you release as a lump sum or in several smaller amounts or as a combination of both. You can continue to live in your home until you die or move in to long term care. You can fix the rate. You have the option with some plans to make monthly payments or roll up the interest.
You may want an Equity Release to clear an outstanding mortgage/do some home improvements/move home/top up your income in retirement/give financial support to family members.
Equity Release will reduce the value of your estate and can affect your eligibility for means tested benefits.