Estate Planning: What About the Copyright?

Regardless of good intentions, many individuals do not get serious about completing their estate planning and estate files till late in life. Even when they do, they focus on which individuals will acquire the tangible assets– such as houses, land, loan, precious jewelry, stock and other investments.

Less attention is put on the intangible properties– such as works of authorship, innovations, brand names and trade secrets. Many individuals might believe that they do not have intangible assets, nevertheless, in today’s world, many people regularly utilize social media and web tools– enabling them to compose and comment through different platforms daily. As a part of the estate planning process, one need to identify their intellectual property.
Intangible possessions arise from the imaginative power of the human mind. Functions of authorship, innovations, brand names, and trade tricks are all produced using our intelligence and imagination. While not everyone can be a popular author, vocalist, artist or developer, one may still own some intellectual property rights.

Estate Planning: What About the Copyright?As an example, copyright law supplies defense for works of authorship. Some individuals are authors of articles, books, sheet music, and site material. Others are creators of software application code for numerous products, while others produce paintings, illustrations, photographs, videos and sound recordings. For an individual author, these copyrights last for the life of the author plus seventy years. Clearly, the next generation will have rights that could be valuable if managed appropriately.
Several years earlier, my clients who have actually composed many books participated in a long term license agreement for usage of these copyrights in exchange for particular royalty payments. The licensee was likewise certified to make derivative works– implying works that are based upon these pre-existing books. This license contract may continue after the life of the authors– offering an annual royalty profits stream to the heirs.

Many people utilize social media tools every day. Choices ought to be made about what occurs to all of that material upon one’s death. To understand the applicable rights, one has to evaluate the regards to service for the suitable social media platform. Whether the content that one has written has value or not, one ought to decide if the social networks account need to remain open or be closed following death. As an example, Facebook u00ae permits either the closing of the account or the conversion of the account into one for memorialization following death.
It is important to distinguish in one’s will between concrete personal effects and copyright, and specifically designate to whom one wishes to leave the latter. Copyright rights have distinct requirements for preserving such rights, and they pose distinct service problems to commercially make use of these rights. As an example, under certain situations, copyright law allows for one to end a copyright transfer that was made 35 years prior. It in some cases makes sense to select a specialized executor for these properties and rights.

One must think about transfers at death that are made by means of living trusts, which avoid probate. They also enable for management of intangible possessions if and when one may be crippled. In addition, one can transfer ownership of their intellectual property to legal entities such as corporations and minimal liability business, for ease and continuity of management and to facilitate the transfer.
Looking at another form of copyright, trade tricks provide defense for info that a person conceals. Trade secrets consist of the formula for Coca-Cola u00ae and the recipe for KFC u00ae chicken. There is no doubt that this formula and recipe are rather important. However, even an owner of a local area dining establishment may have a trade secret in the type of a recipe for unique bbq sauce or special pizza sauce, or a dish for a European dessert. Trade secrets last permanently so long as they are kept secret.

Patent law provides security for innovations. The next generation might inherit the special rights to exclude others from making and selling product or services under the development. Patent rights last for twenty years for the utility and plant patent. Upkeep costs are due occasionally so that the patent rights are not cancelled and lost. If one’s successors will not directly use the trademarked rights, then a patent license to third parties in exchange for a royalty might be appropriate.
In conclusion, as part of the estate planning procedure, a list of all intangible possessions and intellectual property rights ought to be established. One should choose how to transfer those properties and rights upon death, and whether to move such properties into a legal entity well before death. The next generation needs to comprehend one’s desires and be well notified about how to keep and commercially exploit these possessions. The services of a copyright attorney ought to be retained to assist in the efforts of the estate planning lawyer and the financial consultant.