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Can Estate Planning Protect my Intellectual Property?

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October 27, 2023 •  Emily Hicks Law, PLLC
What is Intellectual Property? Can I plan for what happens to it in my estate plan?

Intellectual property (IP) refers to the legal rights that protect intellectual creations like inventions, literary and artistic works, as well as symbols, names and commercial images.

Intellectual property can be divided into four main categories:

  • Patents
  • Copyrights
  • Trademarks
  • Trade secrets

5 Steps to handle IP in your estate plan:

Here are five general steps to consider:

  • Identify your IP: Identify all your intellectual property assets. This might include books, music, software, inventions, or logos.
  • Valuation: Determine the value of your IP. This step helps in assessing its significance in your estate and deciding how it should be distributed among heirs or beneficiaries.
  • Protect your legacy: Designate a person to manage and protect your IP after your passing. This could be a family member, friend, or a professional executor, just make sure they understand IP laws.
  • Licensing and royalties: Decide how your IP will generate income for your estate. This may involve licensing agreements or setting up a trust to collect royalties.
  • Update your plan regularly: As with other assets, your IP and its value can change over time. It's best to regularly review and update your estate plan to reflect any developments or changes in your IP portfolio or changes in the law.

Reference: Yahoo! Finance (October 18, 2023), Can Estate Planning Protect My Intellectual Property?

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