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Make A Point Of Getting What's Yours
From The
Credit Card Company

I don't think I charge a wild amount on credit cards – a few hundred dollars a month. I don't do an unusual amount of flying. Yet frequent flyer points allowed me recently to "buy" a $1,200 ticket for my wife. If I needed to, I could do the same thing all over again with points from my Visa card. Throw in a couple of other credit cards and a preferred guest card from a hotel where I often buy business lunches and I figure I have points worth more that $3,000.

Depending on the card, points can be exchanged for flights, gifts, hotel stays, theater tickets, or even the down payment on a car. You can't take the cash and run, though.

Credit card companies and airlines are on the hook for billions of dollars in unredeemed points, a fair percentage of which will never be used. Many of those unused points belong to people who die without passing them on to others. Points are just not something you think about when calculating your net worth - or struggling to comprehend the death of a loved one.

Many credit card companies will not honor points if the account is closed - which, it could be argued, it really is when the cardholder dies. There are two ways around that. The easiest is to have a second card issued to your spouse. Since the points go with the account and not to the individual who makes the purchases, the second cardholder will be able to spend them at leisure. The second way is to make sure the points are spent before your executor cancels your card.

Whatever your choice, the points will be lost forever unless you leave a list of the cards you have that accumulate them. You should also list the location of the points statements the card issuers send you periodically. And find out what the issuers' policies are with respect to points when the cardholder dies.

After all, many cards charge you for the privilege of earning those points; it would be wasteful not to get your money's worth.

This is just one of dozens of helpful ideas presented in The Estate Manual and its electronic counterpart, THEMES™ .The manual organizes the human side of estate planning. This area is often overlooked, but it makes a huge (and obvious) difference to survivors. It is an easy-to-use system for making sure nothing is left out of your planning. Learn more at:

www.estatemanual.com
Download Sydney's Free ebook Avoid Estate Planning Nightmare
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