A Last Will and Testament is, of course, important to make sure that after you pass away your assets are distributed according to your wishes. But an important and often overlooked element of a proper estate plan is identifying those assets in the first place. When it comes to intellectual property – copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets – knowing just what you own and the best way to protect those assets for your heirs requires an extra level of planning.
Here in Nashville (Music City, U.S.A.), clients have often written and/or recorded songs. Maybe they have value now, or maybe they could have value in the future. Either way, protecting that asset is an important consideration.
One of the most important steps is to be aware of which, if any, rights associated with your copyright may have been transferred to another individual or company, and which have been fully retained. A copyright is not like other property you may own, like your furniture, the contents of your bank account, or your home. A copyright is in fact a collection of rights – including the right to copy, perform publicly, and license – subject to certain deadlines, and provisions of federal law. Even if you have transferred certain rights related to your copyright ownership, you may have retained others.