Transfer of an Individually-Owned Aircraft to a trust on death (TOD).
Working on my estate plan. My attorney (in IL) says he has done this a number of times for a larger aircraft owned by an LLC. Wants to know if it is done, and is there any difference, for an aircraft owned by an individual (me), and registered to same.
2 Replies
If your attorney doesn't know the answer, you need to find another attorney licensed in your state specializing in estate planning who does.  This is an issue of state estate law, not an FAA or otherwise Federal matter.
Basically, transferring ownership of your airplane to a trust upon your passing allows you to dictate the management of that asset. Sell, transfer ownership to a family member, donate, or any number of other options. The executor of the trust carries out the instructions. It is a way of avoiding probate, the general administrating of a deceased person's will. If not in a trust then ownership will be may be subject to whatever your states' survivorship laws are, typically your spouse. Then your spouse has to figure out what to do with the aircraft, a situation you may not want to burden them with. In my time at AOPA I have known more to put the aircraft in a trust. My experience is then the executor of the trust calls us for a discussion how to sell the aircraft. It's pretty straight forward and not complicated. When completing the Bill of Sale, the executor just needs to include a testament that the aircraft is now owned by a trust of which he/she is the executor.
I do strongly encourage to discuss with an estate attorney as the above explanation is in no way official. Just my attempt to provide a general view.