If you think intellectual property (IP) only pertains to renowned creators and big corporations, think again. Whether you're a musician, business owner, writer, or a garage inventor, chances are you possess IP with both sentimental and potential financial value. Sadly, IP often goes overlooked in estate planning, putting your cherished assets at risk of being lost forever.
At our firm, we understand the significance of IP and its protection within estate planning, even if many lawyers don't. In this article, we'll explain why safeguarding your intellectual property during your lifetime and ensuring its proper handling after your passing is essential.
Protecting Your Intellectual Property During Life
First and foremost, document your intellectual property formally. Create an inventory of assets that clearly describes each item, its location, and, if digital or intangible, how to access it. This inventory ensures that no asset, tangible or intangible, is omitted from your estate plan.
Consider whether your intellectual property should be legally registered, such as trademarks, copyrights, or patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. While original works are automatically copyrighted upon creation, formal registration is crucial for enforcement in case of theft. Additionally, if you're involved in lending, renting, licensing, or selling your creations to third parties, ensure you have the necessary legal agreements and contracts to clarify ownership.
If you own a business, protecting your intellectual property through copyrights, trademarks, patents, royalty and licensing agreements, non-competes for employees, and work-for-hire provisions is imperative. Don't wait until your IP is stolen or you face legal issues. The investment in registering trademarks or copyrights is far more cost-effective than potential legal disputes and the loss of your IP's value.
Protecting Your Intellectual Property for Future Generations
Planning for your intellectual property's fate after your incapacity or passing is equally crucial. Ensure your family can locate and access your IP assets, preventing the risk of them being lost forever.
After creating an inventory of your assets, educate your loved ones on how to access it. Specify how each asset fits into your estate plan and whether you share ownership of any IP with others. To ensure comprehensive planning, consult with an estate planning attorney experienced in handling intellectual property. They will help determine inheritors, distribution of value, and income generation from your IP, all while avoiding lengthy and costly probate proceedings.
Dealing with these matters may seem complex, but imagine the difficulty your loved ones would face if you left them to handle it alone. Taking care of these issues now is vital to avoid leaving your family with a mess to clean up after your passing.
Planning for All of Your Assets in the Best Way
You might not be a famous artist or author (yet), but your intellectual property holds value, both monetarily and sentimentally. These unique creations are reflections of your heart, soul, and personality, and will be cherished by your family for generations to come. To ensure comprehensive protection and planning for all your assets, including intellectual property, contact us today.
This article is a service of the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That is why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you have ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by contacting our office today to schedule a planning session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
Disclaimer: All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should contact an attorney trained to work with families on estate planning matters regarding your specific situation. Use of and access to this website or any of the email links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, and any users or any other party.