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Estate planning gives vital protection to musicians and others

It is highly recommended that persons with intellectual property assets -- such as musicians, writers and artists --establish a comprehensive estate plan to assure the desired management and distribution of the individual's assets and creative work, both during and after death. It is paradoxical that an artist like Prince, who was based in Minnesota, was so mindful of the rights to his creative work but did not accordingly take steps to frame those rights by effective estate planning. The most obvious glaring mistake in that respect was the failure to prepare a simple will.  

Experts recommend that artists, writers and musicians work together with an attorney who is knowledgeable in estate planning. This will serve to get the assets into a protected estate plan framework during the artist's life. The attorney will have the artist prepare living trusts where it is appropriate and will also see to it that he or she prepares a will, along with the other components of an estate plan.

The estate plan will likely protect certain assets in one or more living trusts. The artist may maintain control through a revocable living trust. For some purposes, it may be prudent to distribute assets to heirs during life through an irrevocable living trust. In addition, as part of the estate plan, the artist will execute an advanced health directive and a durable power of attorney.

These documents allow for the person's appointed agent to make health care and financial decisions and to manage daily financial activities if the individual suffers a period of incompetency. The attorney will assist the artist in making sure that the rights to the artist's intellectual property are protected under Minnesota and federal law. There are a number of other estate planning protections that the attorney will put into place to protect and assure the appropriate handling of the artist's assets in accordance with his or her wishes.

Source: billboard.com, "Avoiding The Prince Syndrome: A Primer On Estate Planning", Daniel K. Stuart, Aug. 8, 2016

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