Anthony Bourdain's estate plan addressed flyer rewards

Many people were shocked to hear the news that celebrity travel guru and chef Anthony Bourdain passed away recently. The man, who was open and honest about having to live paycheck-to-paycheck well into his 40s, became famous by exposing the secrets of the kitchen and cultures, thereby allowing many to expand their cultural literacy. While there are certainly lessons to be learned from Bourdain's passing and his legacy, one interesting aspect of his life is the way in which he drafted his estate plan.

On its face, Bourdain's will seems pretty simple. The vast majority of his $1.2 million dollar estate will go to his daughter. Yet, even this provision is missed by some, as up to 60 percent of Americans don't have an estate plan at all. Nearly 80 percent of millennials don't have a plan for how their assets will be distributed upon their passing, which could put them at risk of unintended outcomes.

Another interesting part of Bourdain's estate plan is how he handled his frequent flyer miles. Through his will, Bourdain left all of his frequent flyer rewards to his ex-wife, allowing her to use them as she thinks he would have wanted her to use them. Given the extensive amount of the travel Bourdain undertook, and the likely high number of reward miles he accumulated, this is no small thing.

When dealing with uncommon or lesser thought of assets, such as frequent flyer miles, Californians need to be careful in their planning to ensure that those assets will pass as intended. With frequent flyer miles, for example, the contract between an individual and the airline may not even be assignable, meaning that the miles can't be passed down. This is something to check into before adding them to an estate plan. With complexities like these, it is often wise to seek counsel from an experienced attorney who may be able to help competently guide one through the will drafting and estate planning process.

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