Who should be my executor?

Technically speaking, anyone of sound mind above the age of 21 (and who is not a bankrupt) can be your executor.

Briefly, an executor is the person responsible for carrying out your wishes as set out in your will in the event you pass on. Their duties typically include making funeral arrangements, applying to Court for a grant of probate to allow them to start distributing your estate, locating your assets, settling any debts which you may owe and distributing your assets per your wishes under the will. Considering the duties of an executor, you would probably prefer to pick someone who you know personally and whom you trust. Crucially, a close relative or friend will often be in the best position to know you and your wishes well, as well as being fond of your beneficiaries.

That said, what happens if after your death your executor decides to reject his or her appointment? Particularly at a time of mourning, being faced with various administrative responsibilities and possibly a court appearance may be seen as burdensome and stressful.

A possible solution could be to alternatively, or in addition to your relative/friend, appoint a professional executor to guide your personally appointed executor through the process and/or to take charge of the more complex administrative duties. This will prove particularly useful in situations where more complex legal matters arise such as where it may be likely that relatives challenge the will (where they are intentionally left out without their knowledge), where assets are located overseas, or where there are trust instruments involved.

Please let us know if you require our assistance.


Food For Thought: Can Frequent Flyer Miles be inherited?

I came across an interesting question the other day. Can one will away one’s air miles?

Odd as it may seem, with the increased utility of air miles as the equivalent of “cash” in modern times, could air miles be considered personal property such that a person was entitled to bequeath them to another upon his demise?

After all, air miles today are not simply a currency to redeem air tickets, but can often be used for, amongst other things, in-flight purchases, or conversion to cash vouchers for groceries! Since air miles are (almost) as versatile as traditional currency, and if converted to personal property would be in a form fit to be bequeathed as inheritance, what is stopping air miles from being bequeathed in their original form?

Though air miles are “crypto-currency”, they are fundamentally borne out of airline membership programmes. Therefore, the rules governing the use or transfer of air miles will typically be found within the terms and conditions of that membership programme.

In respect of our national carrier’s membership programme, KrisFlyer, having reviewed the Terms and Conditions of the KrisFlyer programme, it seems that the question has already been duly considered. The relevant clause is set out below:

Membership will terminate immediately upon death of the member. Miles and rewards earned but not redeemed at the time of death, as well as benefits and privileges, will be automatically forfeited on the death of the member. Miles and rewards do not constitute personal property and may not be bequeathed or otherwise treated as personal property.

So the answer, insofar as it relates to KrisFlyer miles, is clear: KrisFlyer miles cannot be inherited.

Better redeem those miles quickly!

Caveat: We should mention that our observations above are subject to any changes which may be made to the terms and conditions of the airline’s rewards programme.