What Authors Need to Know About Estate Planning

Are you involved in any type of creative pursuit, such as creating art or novels? Or have you been appointed to control someone’s creative works after they pass away? Probate law addresses property, and most people understand that this includes things like investments, actual cash, real estate and more.

But the fruits of your creative labors may continue to pay off for many years after you pass away. Estate planning is an essential strategy for any creative professional who has works that may generate royalties or other payments down the line. Every adult including writers, artists, musicians and more, should have a valid will or a trust.

Whether you use a trust or a will, both of these require someone to be appointed to administer your estate. This is known as an executor or personal representative. This person has a legal responsibility for settling the estate after you pass away per the directions in the will. The wills executor collects and identifies all estate property, communicates with creditors and pays off debts and liabilities with assets and then distributes remaining assets to beneficiaries. Writers, however, may also consider the additional step of appointing a literary executor.

These are co-executors who handle your literary work. Sometimes this is the same person as your chosen personal representative or executor, but your literary executor may also have special skills because they may need to negotiate contracts with publishers, collect or distribute royalties and maintain copyrights. You need a qualified and experienced lawyer who is familiar with literary executor issues. Speak with a qualified California estate attorney now to learn more.

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