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What happens to royalties in probate?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Probate |

In the Los Angeles area, the topic of intellectual property (IP) and any royalties from such property is always relevant. However, what happens to those rights and royalties when the person who owned them passes away?

Some of the steps are similar to other assets

Much like any other items a loved one left behind, there will be certain steps to take in probate. These steps, which apply to royalties as well, include:

  • Take inventory: It will be necessary to make an inventory of the entire estate. However, it will help to include a specific list cataloging any IP rights and royalties that the decedent owned and received.
  • Value the assets: A valuation of the estate is critical – and yet valuing such assets and royalties can be complex. It will help to obtain experienced professional guidance when determining the value of these particular assets.
  • Notify the necessary organizations: You must inform the entities paying any royalties of the loved one’s passing.

Even though similar steps are required, these assets are often not as easy to handle.

What makes these assets complex?

There are many facets to these types of assets that make them so complex. For example, even if the decedent adhered to California’s rules in their estate plan to pass on these assets, there are still other factors at play after the death, including but not limited to:

  • Continued revenue streams: Royalties and often IP rights are not a lump sum, as many inheritances are. They continue to create revenue over time.
  • Specific rules: It will be critical to understand the nuances around IP ownership if you are to inherit or even manage your loved one’s IP rights. In some cases, an estate plan should provide clarity about how to handle the rights. It will help to look into registrations of IP as well as any contracts related to these rights and royalties.

These are only some of the issues to address when managing these complex assets in probate. Managing an extensive and complex estate after losing a loved one can be overwhelming. Seeking guidance from a probate attorney will help reduce the stress of the situation.