Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C. Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.
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How do you include intellectual property in an estate plan?

As you get older, you may begin to put together an estate plan. Estate planning is especially important if your New York estate will include intellectual property and there are many details you need to consider.

The kind of intellectual property you have determines which steps you need to take as you put together an estate plan. FindLaw says that if you have an invention, it is a good idea to file a patent application. Most of the time, you do not need a model of your invention or even proof that it works to receive a patent. It may take a good deal of time for a patent office to process your application. However, if you pass away while your application is still processing, you can usually still receive a patent. You typically need to specify who will hold the patent after you die; this person may be a family member or a business partner. All of this information can usually go in your will. The person who inherits the patent generally needs to file paperwork to demonstrate that he or she is the new holder of the patent, and this person can also complete the paperwork if your application is still pending at the time of your death. 

Sometimes your intellectual property may be a computer program or a piece of literature or music. These works are usually protected by copyright. Your copyright on this intellectual property typically extends for 70 years after your death. However, it is a good idea to consider what will happen to this copyright after these 70 years. You may want to pick someone to be your intellectual executor. This person would take care of all the intellectual aspects of your estate.

It is important to remember that you usually need a will if you want to protect your intellectual property. This gives you the ability to decide who will inherit or administer your patent or copyright. Without this document, a probate court generally divides your assets, including the intellectual ones.

This information is intended to educate. It should not be used in place of legal advice.

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Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.
17026 Cedarcroft Road
Jamaica, New York 11432

Phone: 347-395-4799
Fax: 718-701-3726
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Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.