Intellectual Property And Estate Planning

The average person’s most valuable assets include their real estate, stocks, and other financial savings. According to the Wall Street Journal, for many people the best choice would be to leave their beneficiaries money through a Roth IRA. This may or may not comprise the most valuable assets owned by someone with rights to intellectual property, which takes the intangible form of a patent, trademark, copyright, or trade secret. For those with intellectual property, talking with an estate planning attorney is a valuable step towards leaving your loved ones with the financial solvency that you wish for them to have.

Determine the Scope of the Assets

According to the American Bar Association, the first step that needs to be taken is determining the scope and assets of the intellectual property. Key questions that must be asked include: what is the size of the intellectual property portfolio, is the property unique, and is it varied? An attorney will also determine whether or not additional intellectual property protection is needed.

Confirm the Ownership

After the intellectual property assets have been determined, the next step is to confirm the ownership of the intellectual property. If the testator had assistance in creating the intellectual property, whether it is a trade secret or a song, there may be other parties that have ownership. If so, the estate needs to clarify the testator’s ownership share. Moreover, if the testator worked on a project or invention while employed for a large company, they may not even own any of the intellectual property rights. Their employer most likely has rights to these creations, not the testator.

Protecting the Intellectual Property

Not only must the testator include their specific wishes in the will regarding how the intellectual property should be handled after their death, but there must also be direction for how to continue protecting the intellectual property. If there are fees that need to be paid to keep a patent protected under the law, these payments must not be forgotten about.

Call a San Francisco Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning involves many large and important decisions, and is something that should include the assistance of an experienced attorney, especially when patents, copyrights, or other types of intellectual property are in the picture. For assistance, please feel free to contact the San Francisco law firm of Lvovich & Szucsko, P.C. today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.