If your Newport Beach estate planning attorney asked you about memberships, what would you say?  Some memberships are more obvious than others, so you’d likely remember a professional organization or social groups such as your fraternity or sorority.  But, there are plenty of other types of memberships, too.

You don’t want to overlook memberships when putting together your estate plan in Orange County.  For one thing, some of those memberships may have benefits that you want to transfer to your heirs.  Frequent flyer miles are just one example.  Additionally, having a list of memberships allows the executor of your estate to initiate contact with the different organizations to cancel ongoing memberships.

Be sure that you have thought through and are keeping track of all of your memberships.  You can use the following list to get you started:

  • Advocacy programs
  • Alumni associations
  • Athletic club/gym
  • Business associations
  • Church or worship groups
  • Civic organizations
  • Civic rights groups
  • Co-ops
  • Consumer groups
  • Fine arts groups
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Frequent flyer programs
  • Honor societies
  • Online groups
  • Parent/Teacher associations
  • Professional organizations
  • Social media networks
  • Social support organizations
  • Special interest clubs
  • Store loyalty clubs
  • Religious organizations
  • Retail memberships
  • Unions
  • Veterans Organizations
  • Youth groups

In addition to putting together a comprehensive list, you may also want to keep instructions about what should be done with each, as well as membership cards, account numbers, etc.  For example, you may want your Netflix account to be canceled outright, but prefer to have your rewards programs (hotels, grocery store points, frequent flyer miles) transferred to your heirs.  Some of these membership programs will also provide a refund for dues that have been paid in advance.  Any membership or subscription service that has ongoing costs should be noted so that the membership or subscription can be canceled, rather than continuing to make automatic withdrawals or having your estate erroneously end up in collections.

There are also some charitable organizations that you may want to benefit from your memberships.  For example, not all frequent flyer programs will allow you to transfer miles to a family member, or you may just prefer to donate them to a worthy cause.  There are several organizations to which you can donate your miles, including:

  • The American Red Cross – Miles are used to provide transportation to volunteers traveling for disaster-related events.
  • Hero Miles – Miles are given to soldiers hospitalized after service in Afghanistan and Iraq to travel from the hospital to home or to bring their families to them.
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation – Miles are used for travel wishes of children who have life-threatening medical issues.
  • Special Olympics – Miles are used to transport athletes and delegates to Special Olympic events.

There are quite a few things to consider when it comes to determining what to do with your various memberships.  Working with an estate planning attorney in Newport Beach to get them all in one place will make things that much easier on those who must take care of your estate in the event you are incapacitated or deceased.