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Including frequent flyer miles in estate planning

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2018 | Estate Tax

Estate planning can be a complex undertaking in California. In creating an estate plan, a person is determining who will inherit his or her accumulated assets after the person’s death. Assets can include personal belongings, financial assets and real property, to name a few. Assets included in estate planning can also include frequent flier miles and loyalty rewards from credit cards.

When Anthony Bourdain recently passed away, some people were surprised at the relatively modest size of his estate. The bulk of the estate was left to his young daughter. His frequent flyer miles he left to his estranged wife to use as she feels he would have wished. Considering the number of miles he flew, this was probably not an insubstantial bequest.

A lifetime is spent accruing those reward points with airlines or credit cards. A Nerd Wallet study found that 68 percent of Americans carry credit cards that earn travel rewards. They can be overlooked when putting together a last will and testament. Each airline and credit card company differs in how points can be transferred in the event of a person’s death. Leaving clear instructions and designating a person to carry out those instructions can be helpful.

A person who travels a great amount may have accumulated a significant number of frequent flyer miles and travel rewards points. These should not be overlooked when putting together an estate plan in California. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney may be able to help determine if frequent flyer miles and rewards points are transferable and can assist in acquiring the necessary forms and information required to help ensure a successful transfer.


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