Death and frequent flier miles.In our estate planning practice, we regularly discuss with our clients who they want to receive their assets.

At times, our clients will wonder whether their frequent flier miles can be inherited, and how they can go about transferring these miles to their loved ones after death.  The answer, as is often the case, is, “It depends.”

All airlines have their own rules related to transferring frequent flier miles after death.  Sometimes the transfer of frequent flier miles after death is precluded under the airline’s documentation, although there can be exceptions.  If a client desires to maintain and eventually attempt to transfer his or her airline miles to a loved one after death, we advise them to contact the airline to determine if this is possible and what procedures will be required to make this transfer.

Our experience has been that normally airlines will not allow frequent flier miles to be transferred to a client’s revocable trust so that probate proceedings could be avoided.  However, quite often the airline will allow transfer after one’s death without requiring probate proceedings, often with only a death certificate, and sometimes with only a copy of the decedent’s will.

Frequent flier miles can sometimes be transferred at one’s death, and part of the estate planning process may involve discussing with the specific airline whether and how to facilitate such a transfer.