cj Sez: I’ve always known that I’m happiest when I learn something new every day. It’s the reason I take a college class every now and then. And it’s the reason I attend writer’s conferences. Today, I learned that I should be thinking about my “literary estate.” Hmmm. I’ve never thought about that concept: As a published writer, I have a literary estate. Wow.
I also learned that I was wrong when I thought that the estate lawyer who drew up my trust and will was all I needed.
Not so, Grasshopper. Copyright protection in an estate and will requires an attorney familiar with the subject. It’s a legal specialty, as in she/he needs to be a copyright, publishing, and media lawyer.
I discovered, however, that I am moving in the right direction. I keep files … physical paper documents in physical paper file folders in addition to digital copies I keep on a flash drive in a safe deposit box. I have a folder of contracts, correspondence, and any pertinent information about the publisher, agent (if I ever get one she/he will be added), and the works, such as are they still in print and who has the rights (I have requested some be returned). I keep a list of works-in-progress and completed but unpublished manuscripts. I also keep a paper copy of all my passwords so that they’re accessible to my executor/trix. All of these things are included in a six-page list that keeps getting notated and updated in pencil until I can no longer read my scratch and have to retype the thing. It’s about to get longer because as I read this, I realize there are things I haven’t put on the list.
Perhaps, it’s the OCD in me. Perhaps. But it’s also because in my B.R. jobs (Before Retired), I absolutely had to be able to put my hand on a document within seconds when the boss asked for it, so I always filed my documents in folders before I left work for the day. I also have a habit of listing the folder’s contents on the outside.
Today I learned there’s a bit more I need to do . . . like find an attorney who knows what to do with copyrights in estates.
Okay, now I have to think on this a while. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.
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