Who receives my loved one’s airline miles during the administration of the estate?

Initially, airline miles and club memberships may seem less important than other assets during the administration of an estate, but these assets can sometimes prove to be quite valuable. This may be true from either a personal or financial standpoint. For example, if the decedent was a frequent traveler and earned many airline miles, he or she could have amassed a great deal of valuable points. In addition, if the decedent enjoyed many previous memories with a loved one spent golfing at a golf course, the decedent’s country club membership may have significant personal value to a beneficiary. For these reasons, it is important to understand how certain items are designated and who receives certain assets under the terms of the decedent’s estate.

5 Guidelines for Distributing Airline Miles and Memberships

Airline miles and similar assets are handled according to the decedent’s estate planning documents. The following are five general guidelines for estate administrators:

  • Airline miles, rewards points, season tickets, and club memberships typically are not considered “tangible personal property.”
  • If the will or trust specifically defines “tangible personal property” to include these items, however, that serves as an exception.
  • If the asset is not considered tangible personal property, it will not pass to the beneficiaries outlined under that provision in the will or trust.
  • The asset will, instead, be considered part of the residuary estate. The will or trust will direct who should receive these assets.
  • The will or trust may, in some cases, specifically address these assets separately and distinctly from the other assets of the estate. In these cases, the asset should pass according to the decedent’s instructions.

It is crucial for estate administrators to understand how every asset of an estate should be distributed. Doing so can help avoid costly disputes during the administration process. We encourage you to learn more by contacting us today at 714-459-5481.