Estate Planning: What About the Copyright?

In spite of great intents, many individuals do not get severe about finishing their estate planning and estate files till late in life. Even when they do, they concentrate on which individuals will inherit the concrete possessions– such as homes, land, money, fashion jewelry, stock and other financial investments.

Less attention is placed on the intangible assets– such as works of authorship, inventions, brand names and trade secrets. Many individuals might believe that they do not have intangible properties, nevertheless, in today’s world, a lot of people regularly utilize social networks and internet tools– enabling them to write and comment through different platforms daily. As a part of the estate planning procedure, one need to identify their intellectual property.
Intangible possessions result from the innovative power of the human mind. Works of authorship, inventions, brands, and trade tricks are all created utilizing our intelligence and imagination. While not everyone can be a popular author, singer, artist or developer, one may still own some copyright rights.

As an example, copyright law supplies security for works of authorship. Some individuals are authors of posts, books, sheet music, and site content. Others are developers of software application code for various products, while others develop paintings, drawings, pictures, videos and sound recordings. For a private author, these copyrights last for the life of the author plus seventy years. Plainly, the next generation will have rights that could be valuable if handled appropriately.
Several years back, my clients who have written numerous books participated in a long term license arrangement for usage of these copyrights in exchange for particular royalty payments. The licensee was likewise licensed to make derivative works– indicating works that are based upon these pre-existing books. This license arrangement might continue after the life of the authors– supplying an annual royalty revenue stream to the heirs.

Many people utilize social networks tools every day. Choices ought to be made about what takes place to all of that content upon one’s death. To comprehend the applicable rights, one needs to examine the regards to service for the suitable social networks platform. Whether the material that one has written has worth or not, one need to decide if the social media account should stay open or be closed following death. As an example, Facebook u00ae allows for either the closing of the account or the conversion of the account into one for memorialization following death.
It is necessary to distinguish in one’s will between tangible personal effects and intellectual property, and specifically designate to whom one wants to leave the latter. Copyright rights have distinct requirements for maintaining such rights, and they pose distinct organisation problems to commercially exploit these rights. As an example, under particular situations, copyright law enables one to end a copyright transfer that was made 35 years prior. It in some cases makes good sense to appoint a specialized executor for these possessions and rights.

One need to consider transfers at death that are made through living trusts, which avoid probate. They likewise allow for management of intangible possessions if and when one might be crippled. In addition, one can move ownership of their intellectual property to legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies, for ease and connection of management and to assist in the transfer.
Looking at another type of intellectual property, trade secrets offer security for information that a person conceals. Trade secrets include the formula for Coca-Cola u00ae and the recipe for KFC u00ae chicken. There is no doubt that this formula and recipe are rather valuable. Even an owner of a regional community dining establishment may have a trade trick in the kind of a dish for special barbeque sauce or special pizza sauce, or a dish for a European dessert. Trade tricks last forever so long as they are kept secret.

Patent law supplies defense for innovations. The next generation might acquire the special rights to leave out others from making and offering services and products under the development. Patent rights last for twenty years for the utility and plant patent. Upkeep costs are due periodically so that the patent rights are not cancelled and lost. If one’s heirs will not directly use the trademarked rights, then a patent license to 3rd parties in exchange for a royalty may be appropriate.
In conclusion, as part of the estate planning process, a list of all intangible possessions and copyright rights should be established. One need to choose how to move those possessions and rights upon death, and whether to move such possessions into a legal entity well before death. The next generation should comprehend one’s wishes and be well informed about how to preserve and commercially make use of these assets. The services of a copyright attorney should be kept to help in the efforts of the estate planning attorney and the monetary advisor.

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