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Estate Planning: What About the Intellectual Property?

In spite of great intents, lots of people do not buckle down about completing their estate planning and estate files up until late in life. Even when they do, they concentrate on which people will inherit the concrete properties– such as houses, land, cash, precious jewelry, stock and other financial investments.

However, less attention is put on the intangible possessions– such as works of authorship, developments, brand names and trade tricks. Numerous people might believe that they do not have intangible properties, however, in today’s world, many people regularly utilize social media and internet tools– enabling them to write and comment through numerous platforms daily. As a part of the estate planning procedure, one should identify their intellectual property.
Intangible assets result from the imaginative power of the human mind. Works of authorship, developments, brands, and trade tricks are all produced using our intelligence and creativity. While not everybody can be a well-known author, singer, musician or inventor, one might still own some copyright rights.

As an example, copyright law provides defense for works of authorship. Some individuals are authors of posts, books, sheet music, and website content. Others are developers of software application code for numerous items, while others produce paintings, illustrations, photographs, videos and sound recordings. For a specific 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 dealt with appropriately.
Several years earlier, my clients who have actually written lots of books participated in a long term license contract for use of these copyrights in exchange for certain royalty payments. The licensee was also certified to make acquired works– implying works that are based upon these pre-existing books. This license contract might continue after the life of the authors– offering a yearly royalty earnings stream to the heirs.

Many people utilize social networks tools every day. Decisions need to be made about what happens to all of that material upon one’s death. To understand the applicable rights, one needs to evaluate the regards to service for the appropriate social media platform. Whether the content that one has written has worth or not, one should choose if the social media account need to stay open or be closed following death. As an example, Facebook u00ae enables 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 in between concrete personal property and intellectual property, and particularly designate to whom one wants to leave the latter. Copyright rights have unique requirements for preserving such rights, and they pose unique service concerns to commercially make use of these rights. As an example, under specific circumstances, copyright law permits for one to end a copyright transfer that was made 35 years prior. It often makes sense to designate a specialized administrator for these properties and rights.

One should consider transfers at death that are made by means of living trusts, which prevent probate. They likewise permit management of intangible properties if and when one may be incapacitated. In addition, one can transfer ownership of their intellectual property to legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies, for ease and continuity of management and to help with the transfer.
Looking at another type of intellectual property, trade tricks supply defense for info that one conceals. Trade tricks include the formula for Coca-Cola u00ae and the dish for KFC u00ae chicken. There is no doubt that this formula and recipe are quite important. Even an owner of a regional community restaurant may have a trade secret in the kind of a recipe for unique barbeque sauce or unique pizza sauce, or a recipe for a European dessert. Trade tricks last permanently so long as they are kept secret.

Patent law supplies protection for developments. The next generation could acquire the special rights to leave out others from making and offering services and products under the creation. Patent rights last for twenty years for the utility and plant patent. Upkeep charges are due regularly so that the patent rights are not cancelled and lost. If one’s beneficiaries will not straight use the trademarked rights, then a patent license to third parties in exchange for a royalty may be appropriate.
In conclusion, as part of the estate planning process, a list of all intangible properties and intellectual property rights should be established. One should decide how to move those properties and rights upon death, and whether to transfer such properties into a legal entity well before death. The next generation must comprehend one’s dreams and be well notified about how to keep and commercially exploit these assets. The services of a copyright lawyer must be retained to assist in the efforts of the estate planning lawyer and the monetary consultant.