Including intellectual property in your estate plan

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | blog, Estate Planning

When you think about estate planning, you usually think about distributing physical assets like real estate, cash or heirlooms. In an increasingly digital and knowledge-based economy, it is essential not to overlook intellectual property when crafting your estate plan.

This is what you need to know about intellectual property and including it in your estate.

Understanding intellectual property

Before delving into estate planning, you should understand what intellectual property is.

Patents: These protect inventions and processes for 20 years. If you hold a patent, including it in your estate plan is valuable to ensure it is passed on or licensed accordingly.

Copyrights: Copyrights safeguard creative works for the creator’s lifetime plus 70 years. With copyrighted works in your estate plan, your heirs can manage and benefit from them.

These are just a few examples of intellectual property you may own.

The importance of estate inclusion

Intellectual property often takes years of hard work and innovation. By including it in your estate plan, you ensure that your legacy and contributions benefit your loved ones.

Without a clear estate plan, family members or business partners can have disputes over the ownership and management of intellectual property assets.

Intellectual property assets can generate revenue through licensing, sales, or royalties. By incorporating a strategy in your estate plan, you can maximize the value of these assets for your beneficiaries.

Including intellectual property in your estate plan

Compile a comprehensive list of your intellectual property assets. Decide whether you want to transfer intellectual property assets to specific individuals, grant a license or establish a trust to distribute them. Intellectual property rights can change over time, so updating your estate plan on new acquisitions is important.

According to the International Intellectual Property Index, the United States’ citizens are the world’s largest intellectual property owners. It is important to protect your hard-earned intellectual property by including it in your estate plans.