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Frequent-flier miles and the distribution of property in Texas

When frequent fliers in Texas are drafting their estate planning documents, it can be easy to forget about all of the miles and other rewards accumulated through airline reward programs. Even though not technically considered an asset, they are something to consider when planning the distribution of property upon death. Many airlines allow frequent-flier miles to be transferred, but others do not.

Airline reward programs are a multi-billion dollar business. Depending on the amount of travel someone does, the rewards could be worth thousands of dollars to the individual. It would be a shame for those potential dollars to go unused after someone dies.

One issue is how to effect an intended transfer. US Airways, for example, allows the rewards to be transferred within the first year after death with proper documentation sent to the airline. American Airlines, by contrast, will send a packet with instructions and the necessary forms for the transfer. Still other airlines have vague policies that may not even be fully understood by the airline's employees, if transfers are permitted at all.

Anyone in Texas that has a significant amount of frequent-flier miles, or expects to accumulate them, will likely want to transfer these miles to someone on his or her death. All pertinent information regarding the airline carrier, its transfer policies and how to access the account needs to be left where the executor and/or the beneficiary can find them. Including the transfer of these miles in estate planning documents will help ensure that they are properly handled during the distribution of property after a person's death.

Source: triblive.com, Frequent-flier miles not always transferable upon death, No author, Nov. 17, 2013

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