Estate plans could include frequent flyer miles and reward points

On Behalf of | Jul 16, 2018 | Estate Planning

The probate process has made public the content of world traveler Anthony Bourdain’s will. Besides bequeathing the bulk of his $1.2 million in assets to his only child, his will granted his frequent flyer miles to his estranged wife. People in Nevada who travel extensively might accrue substantial value in rewards from airlines and other companies, so they might want to include them in their estate plans.

Individual airlines establish the rules regarding whether these rewards can be assigned to another party upon death. When they can be passed on, estate planners classify them as tangible assets. Although people tend to overlook rewards programs when evaluating their assets, a large portion of the population participates in them. A credit card study prepared by Nerd Wallet found that 68 percent of adults earn travel rewards on their credit cards.

To address frequent flyer miles and other reward program assets, a person must study the contract terms for each program. A partner at a financial planning firm said that people cannot make assumptions about transferring loyalty programs to an heir. An airline might even state up front who can receive the assets.

Someone who wants to prepare a last will and testament could seek support from an attorney. An estate planning lawyer could inform a person about overlooked assets and research strategies for promoting specific goals, like funding a charity or protecting heirs from creditors. A consultation with an attorney could provide someone with insights about how to preserve wealth for the next generation or choose an executor. Information about other important issues, like a medical power of attorney, could be shared by a lawyer. With legal advice, a person could plan thoroughly for the end of his or her life and spare family members costly or burdensome delays in the future.