Most people don’t immediately associate estate planning with aircraft ownership. But there are a few reasons to include your aircraft in your estate plans – especially if you also own a business.

Have you asked yourself questions like…

  • Is anyone in my family interested in aviation?
  • Do I want to prevent my aircraft from rotting in an unattended airfield?
  • Is my aircraft capable of having another life after me?
  • What are the options for my plane if something were to happen to me?
  • Is donation of my aircraft possible?

If you’re like many other aircraft owners, you hate the idea of allowing your plane to sit somewhere disintegrating without you. And, if airworthy, you would like to see it go someplace where it’s used again for younger pilots in training.

Find everything you need to know about your options and why estate planning is crucial for aircraft owners.

Need an accurate aircraft appraisal? Reach out to get started.

5 Possible Outcomes For Your Aircraft & Why You Need To Include It In Your Estate Plans

Think about adding your aircraft to your estate plan for its protection and transfer of ownership when the time is right. Especially if you plan on doing any of the 5 things for your aircraft after you’re gone:

1. Passing Your Aircraft Down To Someone

Have a family member or friend who you know would love and appreciate your aircraft?

You can designate individuals or entities as beneficiaries. If you want to ensure your aircraft is delivered to the right person, you should hire an attorney to put your desired management and distribution on paper in case you are no longer able to own and care for it yourself. Also, we highly suggest that your beneficiaries are fully aware of what owning and maintaining an aircraft entails.

2. Giving Your Aircraft New Life

You’ve worked hard to bring your dream aircraft to life. It makes sense not to waste a perfectly airworthy plane if you have one. Think about donating your aircraft to a training facility or aviation school, giving it another chance to hit the skies.

Tips For Donating Your Aircraft

There are a few general steps you must take to ensure your donation is as simple a transaction as possible.

  1. Reach out to the organization in advance to discuss their donation process
  2. Find out all specific requirements for donation
  3. Have an attorney develop an estate plan that includes details for your aircraft donation

The most popular aircraft choices for donation include:

  • Pilatus PC-12
  • Guest Kodiak 100
  • Cessna Grand Caravan
  • Cessna 206
  • Diamond DA-42 with diesel engines
  • Light single-engine aircraft ideal for training and eligible for the autogas STC

Know what your aircraft is worth. Contact us for reliable aircraft appraisals.

3. Accessing Additional Benefits When Donating An Aircraft

Aside from donating your aircraft to a training facility or flight school, charitable organizations, museums, and educational institutions may also accept an aircraft donation. You may then have access to…

  • Significant tax benefits to your estate and/or heirs
  • Take part in preserving aviation history
  • Contributing to ongoing aviation education and research

Enhance Learning Opportunities

There are so many universities, colleges, and flight schools that offer aviation programs across the nation. Institutions like these use donated aircraft for essential flight training, ground instruction, and research.

Assist Non-Profit Organizations

There are non-profit organizations dedicated to aviation education for those who may not otherwise have access. This means aircraft donations are often welcome and used to support programs like these.

Support Government Agencies

Occasionally, government agencies may accept aircraft donations to use for their training programs. Civil Air Patrol (CAP), for example, is a volunteer organization that supports the U.S. Air Force, providing aerospace education and training to its members.

Museums & Historical Societies

Ask your local museum or historical society focused on aviation whether or not they may be interested in your aircraft for preservation and display purposes. Especially if you own a vintage aircraft or warbird, a museum will be your best option to help preserve the history of aviation and continue educating others about the importance of aviation.

Need some ideas? A few options to consider when donating your aircraft to be used for flight training include:

4. Selling Your Aircraft

If you decide to sell your aircraft after you die, it would be a mistake to think that it’s simple enough not to include it in your estate plans – especially if your family is unfamiliar with aviation.

Think about fleshing out the details for the following with an estate planning attorney:

  • Maintenance and operational costs
  • Streamline estate settlement
  • Simplifying the distribution of assets
  • Minimizing potential complications associated with owning and maintaining an aircraft (storage, care, insurance, etc.)

5. Letting Your Aircraft Go

If you plan to keep your aircraft as part of your estate, your beneficiary or executor will need to handle ownership after your passing. Ensure you have followed all legal procedures beforehand to make aircraft ownership transfer easier after your death. This entire process may need to go through probate to determine ownership and distribution according to your will. Otherwise, without a will, the fate of your aircraft relies on state laws.

If your aircraft is passed on to an individual or group of people, they may choose to keep, sell, or donate the aircraft with the proper documentation and compliance with aviation regulations. Both of these are essential for the transfer of ownership as well as ensuring it’s legally and safely managed.

Why Having An Accurate Appraisal Is Necessary For Proper Estate Planning

An accurate appraisal of your aircraft gives you a better idea of your asset’s value. This complete piece of information is essential for determining your estate’s overall value, potentially impacting distribution. Having a reliable aircraft appraisal may also assist with tax obligations down the road. By providing a reliable basis for estate tax calculations, the overall process is simpler to complete – which is a huge relief for your family.

ASA Accredited Aircraft Appraisals For Estate Planning

Help your loved ones avoid running into legal challenges after you die by clearly outlining your intentions and providing contact information for the chosen training facility or aviation school.

Don’t wait. Contact us for all of your aircraft appraisal needs.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.