Where Does Intellectual Property Fit Into The Estate Plan?

You might think you don’t have any intellectual property, such as things like authorship or trade secrets, but in today’s world, assets that you can’t actually touch are more common than ever. A popular example of this is those that retire and take up article writing as a hobby online to share their knowledge. Suddenly, they start to make a little money, then maybe a lot more over time. Alternatively, a more modern example that will become an issue in the upcoming years may be YouTube videos.

When you pass away, who will take over receiving compensation for these pieces of intellectual property? Like any other asset, intellectual assets can be placed in a will or the funds can be given to a trust and that will take care of the issue. However, if you create content as a hobby, you might not realize it needs to be included in an estate plan.

Often, the best idea may be to transfer this intellectual property while you are still alive. However, if a loved one has passed and left behind intellectual property, you may be able to retain the rights as the creator’s legal heir and under copyright law. Copyright law states that the family of the creator will maintain rights for the author’s lifetime plus 70 years, which is often substantial enough to sustain the family. Furthermore, a family member could transfer the copyright to themselves and keep expanding it.

Has a loved one passed away with a substantial amount of intellectual property and your family doesn’t really know what to do? Then you should contact us today. Unfortunately, like estate law, intellectual property law can be highly technical too, even more so when the creator has passed away. Let us help you decide how that intellectual property is divided and inherited to help ease your headache.