Paul Newman is one of my favorite actors and after he died, I found his will online. Please understand that by day I sue people and at night I solve murders so there is a connection.
While an attorney undoubtedly wrote his will, it reminded me of the class that Newman always portrayed. His will had well thought out categories: airplane and racing cars; Oscars and other theatrical works; other tangible property; promissory notes and business interests.
Under the business interests section was the phrase: “any other entity that receives royalties…”
His will has a clause about personal property that says that he would leave a memorandum with suggestions about the division of personal property but that it wasn’t binding.
Overall his will was well written and leaves three major lessons about wills. The first is that by organizing your assets into categories, the list will be more complete and comprehensive. If you don’t have airplanes, start with real estate, cars, investments, retirement assets and personal property.
Personal property is often a contentious part of estates and Newman made recommendations that were not binding. This is a nice middle ground. Remember the ring, painting or car that you hold close to your heart may not be of interest to your son, daughter or friend after you die.
The most important part for authors is the issue of royalties. A good friend said her royalties wouldn’t buy lunch. Setting aside humor, where will your royalties go after you die? Would they fall into the catch all (residue) or go to a particular individual or charity? Would you want your series books to continue with another author? Would you want the rights to be sold? Talk about this with an attorney in your area.
So rent The Road to Perdition and think about a list of assets, your royalties and personal property, just in case you want to get your affairs in order. Incidentally I would give this estate plan a five star rating.
How many authors have an estate plan?
Una Tiers is the pen name for a Chicago attorney whose first humorcide, Judge vs Nuts, will be LAUNCHED on Amazon on 2-29-12, her birthday. Visit Chicago with protagonist Fiona Gavelle, and see where the trail to murder leads. “Chicago doesn’t have any more corruption than other places, we just get better press coverage.” Una Tiers.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/DP/B007BSD4RU
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55XqIbk0VY4
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