You may be an artist, a writer, or a musician. Whatever type of creative person you are, you need to think about what will happen to your workafter you are gone. If you have current or pending/unknown copyrights, you need to meet with a qualified attorney who will draft an estate plan specifically designed to handle these issues. Protect your creative expressions and make sure ownership rights, and any future monetary value, pass to the people you want to benefit from your work. Attorney Chris Tymchuck at Unique Estate Law creates estate plans with an eye to specifics such as the distinct needs of creative people.
Copyrights and Estate Planning
Copyrights protect creative expressions of ideas held in tangible property, such as books, magazines, recordings, and photographs. The copyright itself is not tangible and is often overlooked in estate planning. The transfer of the tangible property associated with the copyright does not mean that the copyright has been transferred as well. A special provision must be made for the copyright itself.
Rights to intellectual property such as copyrights that you may hold, do not end in death. In fact, copyrights will last for decades after you are deceased. Without a will, the law will determine where the copyrights go and not according to your wishes.
Not including copyrights in your estate plan leaves your art to an unknown and possibly unwanted future. The highly acclaimed musician Prince acts as a cautionary tale to all creative people. Prince spent his life fighting for control of his music. He was a staunch opponent to music streaming services that did not properly compensate recording artists for use of their music. Prince passed away with no will or estate plan in place. His music is now all over those streaming services he despised and the future of his art will be the subject of legal battles for years to come. Prince could have avoided this by taking advantage of a couple of different estate planning tools such as those listed below.
Creating a Trust to hold your Copyright
In order to protect the future of your artistic work, you can put the copyright(s) in a trust for the benefit of your heirs. A trust containing the rights to your creative property can accomplish two things: what you want to happen to these things after you pass such as who licenses it and you can determine who benefits monetarily if it’s sold after you pass. A revocable trust would allow you to maintain control over your copyrights during your lifetime and also keep them out of probate when you die. Establishing the trust while you are still alive would also allow you to see how your trustee manages the trust. You could find comfort in seeing that they can look after your trust affairs.
With a trust, you are able to appoint a trustee who is knowledgeable in managing intellectual property. It would also be a good idea if the trustee was proficient in the monetization of intellectual property and monitoring things like copyright infringement.
Creating an LLC to hold the copyrights
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Estate Planning You Can Count On
Works of art contain pieces of those that create them. Whether it be essays, paintings, or music, protect what you have created with an estate plan designed specifically for you and your individual needs. Unique Estate Law does not believe in a one-size-fits all approach to estate planning. We create estate plans custom made to each of our clients. This is estate planning you can trust.
If you are interested in an estate planning consultation, contact us today by filling out a contact form or calling us at (952) 260-2043 with any questions you might have. Feel free to check out our fees page for pricing information.