I Have Been Focused On IP Valuation…
… A lot lately, especially when it comes to estates. (No, nothing wrong with me or Kris, just sort of waking up in this new indie reality.)
You see, when I came out of traditional publishing, the value of my couple hundred short stories and few novels (all the rest were work-for-hire or media) was not enough to hurt anyheir who got it when I died, even with a simple will situation.
So I didn’t give it much thought past putting all the basic estate stuff in place. Which we did. And updated it fairly regularly.
Then one day I sort of started playing with copyright valuation and realized my situation had changed a ton in the 15 years of indie. I now owned all my own copyright and had written a hundred more novels, published hundreds more books, and written three hundred more short stories, and all of it was in print and earning.
All of it had future value.
Plus the company I was half owner of had gained a lot of value in copyright (not mine or Kris’s) and the value was high enough with even a very conservative valuation that it would exceed both Oregon’s and the Federal levels if it had to go straight into probate if something happened to me and Kris. Oh, oh…
Nevada does not have an estate death tax, but Kris and I would be way over the Federal limits on our personal stuff if we didn’t act.
So we are fixing the problem, and don’t worry, we have a great IP attorney and great estate attorney and an accountant on the task. Not a simple task, but a fixable one.
But I was surprised at myself that even though I was paying attention to IP valuation overall, I had not applied it to myself and Kris and WMG until just lately. And not even counting the trademark and brand valuation either. That will take some expert advice there.
So indie writers, keep in mind we are in a new world. Unlike traditional, where basically books died quickly and had little to no IP valuation except on the corporate spreadsheets, we now keep all our own IP and future earnings valuation (most common for Copyright) can stun you if you have a lot of work, and it is all in print and earning. It might not be much per project, but wow does it add up.
And thus, if you don’t get it taken care of right, it can really hurt your heirs and more than likely kill any hope of your work earning anything after your death.