Aircraft Ownership & Trusts

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Estate Planning with an Aircraft Trust

Is your Estate Plan Airworthy?

Aircraft must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.  The owner is the person who has the authority to operate, use, update registration and sell the aircraft.  If the owner dies or becomes unable to fill these roles, then there is nobody who has the authority to do these things.  In that case, the family will be facing probate so that a court can appoint a personal representative or guardian.  Not only is probate costly, it is also public and subject to delays.  An Aircraft Trust avoids these issues.

Types of plans:

  •  Flying Legacy: Require your beneficiary to obtain a pilot’s license before they are given an interest in the airplane.

  • Gift:  Transfer the aircraft to the people or organizations you choose.

  • Operation:  The trustee manages the aircraft for use by those you choose.

  • Liquidation:  The aircraft is sold and funds distributed.

  • Specialized:  You let us know your plans.

    Aircraft Trust Quick Start Form:

    To get started and for a no obligation quote just answer these five simple questions:

    [inbound_button font_size=”40″ color=”#004080″ text_color=”#ffffff” icon=”” url=”” width=”” target=”_blank”]Aircraft Trust Quick Start and Quote[/inbound_button]

How an Aircraft Trust works:

You will be the initial Trustee which means that you’re in charge.  However, when you die or become unable to manage the aircraft, your hand-picked successor Trustee takes over.  This person follows your  instructions in the trust.  The trust might have them continue to operate it for the family members; give it to an individual or charity; or sell it and divide the proceeds.

No Probate

By design, a Trust avoids probate if property is titled in the name of the Trustee.  Instead of the need to go to court to appoint somebody, your successor Trustee submits an affidavit and is then able to manage the property.


Why your current Trust may not work

In order for any trust to work registered assets, like aircraft, must be properly registered.  In order for an aircraft to be placed in a Trust, the FAA requires a review of the Trust and additional documents.  The Trust must be designed to meet the FAA’s United States Citizenship test.  Drafting a conforming Trust and providing the supporting documentation can be a daunting task for those unfamiliar with the process.  Perhaps that is why this area is so neglected.

 Check your Trust registration:

Click the N-Number inquiry.  [inbound_button font_size=”14″ color=”#00ff00″ text_color=”#000000″ icon=”” url=”” width=”” target=”_blank”]Check your N-Number[/inbound_button]  Enter your number.  If Trustee does not appear after your name then the FAA does not consider your aircraft to be in a trust.


Like many states, Oklahoma does not charge a transfer or excise tax when an aircraft is transferred to a revocable trust.  In fact, revocable trusts are specifically exempted from state tax under Article 68 O.S. Section 6003(17).

No Separate Tax Return or Tax Id Number

While you are alive there is no separate tax return required.

Not in Oklahoma?

I’m happy to work with attorneys across the country.  Fill out the quick start form above and I’ll get back to you.