If you are looking ahead to accomplishing your estate planning goals as an author, good for you. You have taken an important first step towards protecting your intellectual property rights and ensuring that you have passed on some of the assets valuable to you and likely most valuable to your loved ones.
Arranging a team of professionals to help guide you through this process is strongly recommended well in advance of thinking about retirement. Whether you are using a will or a trust, you will need to surround yourself with professionals who can help you accomplish protection for your royalties and your copyright.
Both a will and a trust require someone who is appointed to administer your estate.
That executor has what is known as fiduciary responsibility for settling the estate after you pass away as per the directions in the will. The will executor, for example, will identify and collect all estate property, pay expenses, locate creditors, pay taxes, and serves as the business manager of the estate.
Within a trust, the trustee or executor governs the management of the assets and property inside the trust as explained in the trust terms. This can occur both while you are still alive and after you pass away and includes some of the same responsibilities carried out by a will executor, such as locating creditors, paying expenses, and paying out taxes. In most cases, your executor will be a relative, spouse or a close friend.
In addition to naming a general executor, authors and writers should consider appointing a literary executor as well. Literary executors serve in a co-executor role and are primarily focused on your literary works. In some cases, you might be able to have this be the same person as your executor but in other cases managing literary works requires a need for distinction between these two roles.
This is because a literary executor might have more experience in handling some of the complicated facets in your literary estate, such as maintaining copyrights, negotiating contracts with publishers, distributing and collecting royalties, and arranging for publication of any unpublished manuscripts or other literary material that you have stored in a hard drive, in a desk drawer or in a box.
As a side note, Royalty Reminder can help you store all of this literary collateral to ensure that it is easy for your estate planning purposes and for your literary executor. A literary executor can also serve in some important roles for your online life as an author, such as those related to your social media and your blogs.
You might choose, for example, to designate a trusted relative or spouse as your literary executor or it might be in your best interests to retain a person who has no personal interest or stake in your estate. This includes someone who works for a financial institution or a bank department, a fellow writer, an agent, lawyer or an accountant. The best choice in selecting a literary executor is someone who has experience in the publishing field and business skills.