WHO WILL YOU TRUST? Wills in Author Estate Planning

Big thanks to Writers in the Storm for inviting me back to continue our new series on estate planning for authors!

As we discussed in April, every author needs an estate plan, including a properly drafted will or trust, which addresses the ownership and management of copyrights and other intellectual property the author owns at the time of the author’s death.

All authors have an estate plan. Surprise! You have one, whether you know about it or not. If you haven’t written a will or a trust, then you’re operating with plan #3: intestacy, which essentially means the estate plan the state establishes by law for anyone who dies without a valid will or trust.

A hint for the wise: option #3 is bad.

Authors who have no written estate plan will find their estates (and copyrights) subjected to the laws of the state (or country) where the author resided at the time of death. In most U.S. jurisdictions, the law provides that spouses and biological or legally adopted children inherit the property and rights of a person who dies. However, state laws vary, and in some places property ends up escheating to the state

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