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View Full Version : Death of an Author - What's next?



jimbro
06-20-2011, 09:26 PM
Yeah, we all want to know what's next.
I know where I'm going. :evil

But my question is actually about passing on copyright. A close friend has a number of published works and has had moderate success with them. But he is getting up in years and after a recent health scare (he's fine for now), he asked me how best to pass on his profits to his heirs.

I didn't know what advice to give, other than see a lawyer. I'm sure he'll probably do that, but we'd both like to know if anyone here has set something up for themselves.

Copyright now lasts 75 years after death in the USA, I think.

He has about a dozen (traditional) published works, and another half-dozen epubs that are selling very well.

In most states, a decedent's estate needs to be closed within one year. My off-the-cuff suggestion was to create a LLC in Wyoming or Nevada (no tax and minimal cost and paperwork), name his heirs as joint owners of the LLC and then transfer the rights to that corporation in his will.

Comments please?

suki
06-20-2011, 09:30 PM
Yeah, we all want to know what's next.
I know where I'm going. :evil

But my question is actually about passing on copyright. A close friend has a number of published works and has had moderate success with them. But he is getting up in years and after a recent health scare (he's fine for now), he asked me how best to pass on his profits to his heirs.

Copyright now lasts 75 years after death in the USA, I think.

He has about a dozen (traditional) published works, and another half-dozen epubs that are selling very well.

I didn't know what advice to give, other than see a lawyer. I'm sure he'll probably do that, but we'd both like to know if anyone here has set something up for themselves.

In most states, a decedent's estate needs to be closed within one year. My suggestion was to create a LLC in Wyoming or Nevada (no tax and minimal cost and paperwork), make his heirs owners of the LLC and then transfer the rights to that corporation in his will.

Comments please?

He, and you, need legal advice. The costs/benefits of any estate plan will depend on the specific financial conditions and assets of the individual. Setting up an LLC is not always the best plan, for the individual looking to pass on his assets, or for the people receiving the assets. You/he need legal advice from an attorney who specializes in estate planning, preferably one in a firm that also does intelectual property law.

~suki

MaryMumsy
06-21-2011, 02:48 AM
In most states, a decedent's estate needs to be closed within one year. My off-the-cuff suggestion was to create a LLC in Wyoming or Nevada (no tax and minimal cost and paperwork), name his heirs as joint owners of the LLC and then transfer the rights to the corporation in his will.

Comments please?

IANAL, but AFAIK, there is no requirement for an estate to closed within one year. Some drag on for years.

Wyoming does have income tax.

An LLC is not a corporation. Rules regarding LLCs vary from state to state.

He needs an estate planning attorney in his home state.

MM

IceCreamEmpress
06-21-2011, 03:35 AM
This article (http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/finaldrafts.html) about selecting a literary executor is something your friend should read, and probably something that he should review and discuss with his attorney.

JanDarby
06-21-2011, 03:40 AM
I was just about to go into a long-winded, overly technical rant about literary executors, but the article ICE cited is better.

Neil Gaiman has a blog entry somewhere about the need for writers to have a will, in large part because it's the only way to specify a literary executor.

JD, not giving individual legal advice, just general information

James D. Macdonald
06-21-2011, 07:22 AM
Here's Neil's blog entry (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2006/10/important-and-pass-it-on.html). It includes a handy template.

jimbro
06-21-2011, 06:54 PM
Much Thanks to all who responded.

Of course, I know he needs to talk to a lawyer - I'm pretty sure he will.

I was just looking for other people's experiences.

As for Wyoming, just to clarify; the corporate tax (which applies to LLC's) taxes only those assets held in Wyoming (or a $50. minimum). I know this, because my consulting business is registered as an LLC in Wyoming, a state I have never visited. I was sloppy in my first post (a grevious sin on a writing forum, I freely admit.)