Estate Planning for Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks

Property disposed of in estate plans can include not just financial assets, real estate, and tangible items, but also intellectual property, such as the legal rights to certain works individuals have created or invented, which can be quite valuable.  Therefore, it is important to plan for them.

Scott C. Soady has written an article about such planning, which begins as follows.

Your estate plan is designed to dispose of any property you own at the time of your death. Property can include not just financial assets, real estate, and tangible items, but also the legal rights to certain works you have created or invented. These intellectual property rights can be quite valuable, which is why it is important to include them in your will or trust.

How Intellectual Property Works

There are three broad categories of intellectual property protected under federal law: copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Each follows different rules and can impact your estate planning in varying ways.

A copyright refers to a person’s rights “in original works of authorship.” This includes not just traditional “literary works” like books, but also musical compositions, motion pictures, and even architectural designs. Basically, any original work that is in a fixed form and capable of reproduction may be under copyright. So, for example, if you produce a series of popular YouTube videos, that is subject to copyright the same as if you wrote a 400-page novel.

See full article at: How Should I Deal with Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks in My Estate Plan? — San Diego Estate Planning Lawyer Blog

Posted by Lewis J. Saret, Co-General Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal.