There’s no question about it, estate planning is not a favorite subject for the vast majority of people. Avoidance is a natural response for anything that has to do with morbidity, and people are largely uncomfortable talking about what happens to their property after they pass away.
However, for authors, it is critical to think about tying up affairs and disposing off the estate assets appropriately. This is especially important for authors because writers have additional assets that many other people do not in the form of intellectual property rights that make estate planning even more essential and potentially complicated.
Author IP Rights
You want to make sure that the literary works you have created during your life are treated based on your wishes after you pass away.
The primary intellectual property that writers own is the copyright to their literary works. A copyright lasts for the author’s life in addition to 70 years. This means that this is a very long window for the value of your asset to be viable. You want to ensure that you have a plan for your intellectual property and that it is cared for after your death.
Basic Estate Planning Tools for Authors
Every adult should have a valid will or trust, and that includes authors as well.
Without a trust or will in place, your estate distribution is governed by the intestate succession statutes within your house and within your estate and will pass on to your heirs according to the court’s wishes.
Preparing a trust or a will is not a difficult or complicated process, but it is one that is extremely important. Trusts and wills each have advantages and disadvantages. A literary estate includes multiple different components, and all of these should be discussed with knowledgeable professionals so that you can have a comprehensive plan in place. When thinking about your individual property, you might pass on the physical copies of your books, such as the first editions to beloved loved ones, but you still need to answer the questions around who will continue to own your copyright and the potential benefits of your book continuing to generate royalties after you pass away.
If you are an author who has multiple books, and many complicated and structured royalty agreements, it is imperative that you have thought about your literary estate plan. Royalty Reminder exists to help you keep an organized structure to all of your literary agreements and to help you answer some of the complicated questions around the estate planning process for authors. Continue to stay tuned to our blog and check out our resources that are designed to help authors and writers make the most of all their intellectual property.