Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Intellectual Property and Business Succession Planning

I try to make the point that what has made Bill Gates all his money is his intellectual property: trademarks, patents and even copyrights. Pennsylvania Trusts and Estates Blog takes this a step further with Intellectual Property in Your Estate:

Forbes published a list of the 13 Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. The estates of these persons are making fortunes with the decedents' intellectual property. How much do they earn? The top-earning 13 decedents earned a combined $194 million over the last 12 months. It makes dying look like a good career move. Who are they? Elvis Presley, Charles M. Schulz, Heath Ledger, Albert Einstein, Aaron Spelling, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), John Lennon, Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, James Dean, Marvin Gaye.

Any author or artist should consider choosing a an executor who is knowledgeable in his or her field to serve as a special executor after his or her death. For example, an author might appoint a family member as executor to take care of the estate in general, but name a literary executor to be responsible for and carry out certain duties with regard to the decedent's written works.

Intellectual property can be a valuable assets and it must be managed in your estate to maximize
income streams income, address infringements, protections, registrations and maintenance.
What have you done to protect your heirs and your business when you die? What have you done to protect your business between now and your death? I do not suggest waiting - get yourself to a lawyer as soon as possible.