Can you inherit Air Miles?
As a professional who works in wills and probate, I find that people deal with death in very different ways. Grief can strike a number of reactions and the thought of death itself has a lot to answer for in terms of effective planning – but perhaps that’s why a particularly story caught my eye over the weekend.
Whilst many consider their families and protecting any wealth from inheritance tax, there are those who write their air miles into their wills. Yes, you did read that correctly.
According to this story in the Times, frequent fliers are now being told to include any air miles in their wills to stop airlines from voiding them upon their death.
The British Airways air miles scheme, known as Avios, aims to reward frequent fliers with points that can be used against future flights. They are a great incentive, however, according to the article, the T&Cs state that they are not transferred in the event of death and any points accrued are immediately null and void.
However, it seems that if they are listed in a will, beneficiaries might be able to argue that the assets have become passed to them in law. In fact, the article says that most airlines will transfer them to the executor of the will, providing the miles are specifically referenced in the document.
Whether or not this is true, or is correct in the eyes of the law is another matter, however, it does bring us the case in point. Whatever is important to you or your particular family situation, without a will you cannot guarantee that your cash or other assets will be distributed according to your wishes.
Many people assume that property, for example, automatically passes to a spouse, but this is not necessarily true. Plus, the law varies according to whether or not you are married, whether you are tenants in common, etc. A lot of people assume that in the event that they become ill, their partners or spouses will be able to look after their financial affairs, but that isn’t necessarily true either.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document that specifies any particular treatment you wish to have, as well as nominates a person, known as an “attorney” to access your bank account so that your bills are paid. A will also ensures that any cash, property or other assets (maybe even your air miles) are distributed according to your wishes.
If you would like to write a new will, or you’d like to make changes to an existing will – or if you’d like more information on drafting a Lasting Power of Attorney, contact the Private Client team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.