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The estate includes assets as well as frequent flyer miles … and where they will go.

There is considerable interest in the estate of celebrity Anthony Bourdain and it is getting even more interesting, according to Forbes in “How Anthony Bourdain’s Estate Plan Reflected the Two Most Important Parts of His Life“.

The reports that his net worth was only $1.2 million grabbed a lot of attention. It shouldn’t have surprised anyone, because Bourdain regularly said that until his 40s, he lived paycheck-to-paycheck. What’s really interesting from the estate planning perspective is how he expressed his wishes in his will. The details became public because it was probated.

Bourdain made provisions for his only child, who will inherit the bulk of his wealth. He also seemed to have been influenced by the enormous amount of travel his career required. What is interesting is that he passed his frequent flyer miles to his estranged wife “to dispose of, in accordance to what she believes to be his wishes.”

Those who travel often and have large frequent flier miles, award points and perks, often overlook them as part of their estate plan. They are often valuable and should be addressed in estate planning.

However, passing along airline points is not as easy as filling out a beneficiary form. Each airline has its own policies so you may have to fill out a form for each one. Loyalty programs are basically contracts with a company and you’ll need to read the fine print, since not all airlines allow their points to be assigned. The selection of beneficiaries also may be limited by the airline.

Bourdain’s very public profile makes it unlikely any airline would refuse to honor his request to transfer those points. Because he carefully documented his desire to leave his frequent flier miles to a specific beneficiary, it’s even more likely his points will transfer without too much fuss.

Reference: Forbes (July 6, 2018), “How Anthony Bourdain’s Estate Plan Reflected The Two Most Important Parts of His Life.

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.