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Author Topic: How to Leave Royalties to Survivors After Death - Answers from the Agencies  (Read 34585 times)

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donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2010, 19:08 »
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Sorry to hear about your situation Donding.  I have a step-mother like that too.  My father is in late stages of a degenerative illness so I imagine I will be facing a similar nightmare in the future.

Thanks, Powerdroid, for starting this thread. This is very good information to have.

I had figured I would be covered because I have a corporation and my husband is VP, but my accounts and copyrights are still in my name.  Maybe I should change them to be in my corporations name? 

I don't even have a will.  Just assumed that everything I have will go to my husband if I die or our (only) child if we are both dead.  Sounds like a will would really simplify things as far as the stock royalties go. 

God, I hate dealing with lawyers.  Guess I'm going to have to, though.
Thanks lisafx...this probate has been a nightmare. If she had agreed to give his kids what are rightfully theirs rather than saying each of his kids should be happy with one thing and the grandkids didn't need anything. She has four kids from a previous marriage also and they are more evil than she is. I can't believe she even thinks its alright not to give his kids what is theirs even what he owned before their marrriage. I guess she tought we were all stupid and were going to let everthing go to her kids upon her death. I better drop that subject before I write a book on it.

Anyway you might want to talk to your lawyer about the copyright thing. I don't know how copyrights pertain to a corporation, but I know if you desolve the corporation the debt goes to the shareholder if its a S corp.

Heh also you better talk to the lawyer about writing up a will also at the same time. Believe me your heir will thank you for it....kinda ironic but I haven't gotten a will yet either...lol


lisafx

« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2010, 19:20 »
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Thanks for the excellent advice Donding. :)

Wishing you all the best in this (unfair!) battle you have on your hands.

« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2010, 04:06 »
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yeah, transferring accounts and copyright would be much simpler if we opened the stock accounts as a business entity (not a personal business)  Norway, like Brasil (by what it sounds like) has strict rules of who you can and cannot specify as beneficiaries of your will.  A certain percent HAS to go to your family, wife, kids etc. which is quite different than in Canada where you can leave everything to a friend or a non-profit organization if you want.  It is a problem here in Norway when 5 kids have to split a house.  If 4 of the kids don't want to keep the house and one does, that one has to buy the other 4 out - something that they often can't afford.  So they have to sell the house and all take their share of the money.

If 5 kids, or even 2 kids had to split a image rights.... boy what a mess.  Personally I like the Canadian system better.  People should be able to leave what they want to who they want.

« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2010, 16:06 »
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Leaf,

Here in Brazil you can set in a will up to 50% of your estate to whoever you want, but 50% belong to the legal heirs - some in fact, like spouse and children.  I, for instance, without either, can leave my money to anyone and my brothers and nephews, and even my mother, would not get anything.  It is fair or unfair, depending on the case. 

ShadySue

« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2010, 07:22 »
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I don't even have a will.  Just assumed that everything I have will go to my husband if I die or our (only) child if we are both dead.  Sounds like a will would really simplify things as far as the stock royalties go. 

God, I hate dealing with lawyers.  Guess I'm going to have to, though.

Lisa, I hate to point out again the horrible possibility of both your husband and child, or all three of you dying in e.g. a car accident or house fire etc. Unless you really don't care who would inherit in these circumstances, you should think about making a will.

In case that sounds smug, my husband and my sister are my beneficiaries with no fallback, but they're seldom in the same place at the same time. Not outwith the bounds of possibilty, though. I'm not sure who I should fallback my port to: my parents (who I guess would be the legal fallback beneficiaries in general terms) have never had or used a computer, and would be unlikely to start. Would a charity consider it too much hassle? Maybe I should look into that.

« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2010, 08:04 »
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Can someone clarify to me!

Do I need to make some document before my eventual death, as a last will or testament...??

Or relatives can prove family connection after my death without my testament, and get my portfolio as their own from that moment?

« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 08:08 by borg »

« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2010, 08:10 »
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Here is Shutterstock's reply to the question... starting to look like the agencies are in agreement on this issue:

"Thank you for writing in.

Your portfolio may be transferred over to a beneficiary. Mention that in your

Will and have that reviewed and approved by a lawyer.

When it comes time, your beneficiary would approach us with the necessary
paperwork for account transfer to take place. Please be aware that
Shutterstock does honor the instructions of Estate representatives."

Best regards,

NAME
Shutterstock Support

« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2010, 08:13 »
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And finally, here's Fotolia's response... pretty much the same as the other three I asked (DT, IS, SS):

"While Fotolia has had no formal policy on this issue we do concur that copyrights may be inherited and the new copyright holder will have all the rights in and to the image. Our Upload Agreement states ""This Agreement shall be inure to the benefit of, and be binding upon, Fotolia and the Uploading Member, and their respective successors and assigns."

If such an unfortunate event did happen we would ask to see documents pertaining to the death and the inheritance of the copyright before access could be given to the account or the money earned. In addition the new owner would have to file the appropriate tax form before cashing out the earnings.

We will be happy to answer any other questions related to this issue if needed."

« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2010, 08:13 »
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But what will happen if I am killed in a car accident without last will document?


ShadySue

« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2010, 08:28 »
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But what will happen if I am killed in a car accident without last will document?

That's bound to depend on what the laws are in your country about people who die intestate.

« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2010, 09:21 »
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But what will happen if I am killed in a car accident without last will document?

That's bound to depend on what the laws are in your country about people who die intestate.

But the heirs, whoever their are, must know you have the agencies selling your images, or they will never claim these accounts.  My family, for instance, hs a vague idea about this business.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 09:35 by madelaide »

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2010, 09:56 »
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But what will happen if I am killed in a car accident without last will document?


If you live in the US you have to go through probate, even with a will, but if you die without one the courts have to decide where the money and how much go to the different heirs. It is quite an expensive process if you have heirs fighting over what they feel is theirs, it also depends on what state you live in. Like I said in a pervious post, we have already spent $12,000.00 and are not even done with the battle yet. Probate can cost upwards of $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 depending on the complexity of the estate. So to sum it up....you better get a will, it's not nearly as costly, only a filing fee and that's about it.
So get a will.

lisafx

« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2010, 12:17 »
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Lisa, I hate to point out again the horrible possibility of both your husband and child, or all three of you dying in e.g. a car accident or house fire etc. Unless you really don't care who would inherit in these circumstances, you should think about making a will.


To be honest, if my husband, daughter, and I all died together I couldn't care less what happens to my portfolio, or anything else for that matter.

My parents are both remarried and well off enough not to need my stock income, and I don't have any siblings. 


w7lwi

  • Those that don't stand up to evil enable evil.
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2010, 13:47 »
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In the U.S., the key to avoiding all this hassle is to have a Revocable Living Trust.  In this document you set up a trust where all your assets are recorded in the name of the trust and the trustees assigned (usually yourself and spouse).  You can then assign heirs to the trust and someone to act as executor.  This not only defines who will get what, but avoids both probate and taxes on the estate entirely.  The assistance of a good trust and estate lawyer are critical in setting up this document, but it can be well worth the cost.  Mine cost just a tad over $2,000; but, to avoid probate and taxes and to clearly define who get what from the estate, it's well worth the money.  The cost will vary from state to state, but should be in this ballpark.  And the trusts are portable.  That is, a trust written in one state will be recognized in any other.

I recently had occasion to go through this process, first when my father died which simply entailed a change from joint trustees to the surviving trustee (my mother in this instance), and shortly thereafter when my mother died and I became the sole trustee and executor of the estate.  Simply followed the instructions if the Trust and her Will and everything was done.  No probate.  No state or federal taxes.  Clean, simple and one less headache at a time when we didn't need any more problems than we already were facing.  I can't recommend strongly enough the need to get one of these as soon as possible.

« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2010, 14:12 »
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To be honest, if my husband, daughter, and I all died together I couldn't care less what happens to my portfolio, or anything else for that matter.
You can always leave everything to charity...

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2010, 19:37 »
0
In the U.S., the key to avoiding all this hassle is to have a Revocable Living Trust.  In this document you set up a trust where all your assets are recorded in the name of the trust and the trustees assigned (usually yourself and spouse).  You can then assign heirs to the trust and someone to act as executor.  This not only defines who will get what, but avoids both probate and taxes on the estate entirely.  The assistance of a good trust and estate lawyer are critical in setting up this document, but it can be well worth the cost.  Mine cost just a tad over $2,000; but, to avoid probate and taxes and to clearly define who get what from the estate, it's well worth the money.  The cost will vary from state to state, but should be in this ballpark.  And the trusts are portable.  That is, a trust written in one state will be recognized in any other.

I recently had occasion to go through this process, first when my father died which simply entailed a change from joint trustees to the surviving trustee (my mother in this instance), and shortly thereafter when my mother died and I became the sole trustee and executor of the estate.  Simply followed the instructions if the Trust and her Will and everything was done.  No probate.  No state or federal taxes.  Clean, simple and one less headache at a time when we didn't need any more problems than we already were facing.  I can't recommend strongly enough the need to get one of these as soon as possible.
You also have to remember to keep it updated. I even forgot we had one untill you mentioned it. It's over 10 yrs old and my children were still minors. They are both grown now with children of their own. Anyway your accounts...including checking, deed records and all that stuff would be recorded under the living trust

« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2010, 12:06 »
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Maybe this will be interesting for you.
Information on IS what shall be done if you are the inheritor, but no account of dead person exist and you wish to create it and start selling images.


"We will need a copy of the will stating that he willed copyright of his images to a specific person. If this is not mentioned in the legal will, then the executor of the estate can write a letter stating who will inherit copyright of the images.

iStockphoto will need a copy of the will stating who inherits the images (or stating who the executor is, and then a letter form the executor) and a copy of a death certificate.

These documents are kept on file, and you will be able to upload his images for sale at iStockphoto"


donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2010, 12:36 »
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Maybe this will be interesting for you.
Information on IS what shall be done if you are the inheritor, but no account of dead person exist and you wish to create it and start selling images.


"We will need a copy of the will stating that he willed copyright of his images to a specific person. If this is not mentioned in the legal will, then the executor of the estate can write a letter stating who will inherit copyright of the images.

iStockphoto will need a copy of the will stating who inherits the images (or stating who the executor is, and then a letter form the executor) and a copy of a death certificate.

These documents are kept on file, and you will be able to upload his images for sale at iStockphoto"
That is interesting information. I figured once the person died you could still collect his/her royalties, but am surprised you'd still be able to upload his remaining images.

« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2010, 22:24 »
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Years ago I informed my beneficiaries as to the agencies selling my images and the methods of payout and the $$ amount necessary for payout and any other pertinent info.  Let's  remember this is a business and we would not want to die and leave an ongoing business to lose income that may be created for decades.  Likewise the agencies are legit businesses and must abide by the laws of their states or countries which protect the rights of the rightful heirs to a business which our portfolios are.  If I were to die with my beneficiaries I would certainly want my earnings to go to an entity other than the agencies and, perhaps, most likely by US law, to my state's unclaimed funds account.

« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2010, 08:12 »
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I have watched this thread with interest as a former (traditional) agency owner/executive in the U.S. Since we had written contracts, rather than user agreements, and at the most less than 1,000 photographers (at all but the giant agencies), we were much more informed about our contributor/photographers. We also used to only issue checks that had to be counter-signed by the recipient before deposit and it is generally considered fraud to sign another's name for the purpose of cashing their checks. Thus when there was a death, we were contacted by someone for the money.

We then required (in California) a form issued by probate that indicated to whom the funds were to be transferred. In the case we heard from no one or if checks or other mail was returned, we held the money for three years and then, as required by the state, turned it over to the state's unclaimed property fund.

That brings us to today....there is little direct contact between the microstock company and the thousands and thousands of contributors. In many cases, a death will surely go unnoticed even if the funds aren't claimed. If the funds are being deposited to a debit card, anyone with access to the deceased's password, can request and load the funds. This could go on for years without heirs finding out.

I have no information at all nor do I think the following would happen with any large microstock companies that I am familiar with but I did work for a traditional company in the past that simply, quietly kept all the unclaimed funds with only a desultory effort at finding those whose checks were returned. When I asked about it, I was told, "Oh they are all dead anyway." (I left the company within a few weeks).

All our stories end one day. Do the correct thing: at the very least make a simple will with instructions and make it known to those that matter.

« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2010, 09:22 »
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I would think that the deceased's will plus the instructions of the executor of the will will direct whatever micro site to transfer all rights to the proper heir(s). I can't see how the assets of the deceased would be treated any differently with micro stock sites than with book publishers or any other company handling copyrighted material. The response from IS makes the most sense in this regard.

« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2010, 11:55 »
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I would think that the deceased's will plus the instructions of the executor of the will will direct whatever micro site to transfer all rights to the proper heir(s). I can't see how the assets of the deceased would be treated any differently with micro stock sites than with book publishers or any other company handling copyrighted material. The response from IS makes the most sense in this regard.
The microstock sites should not treat heirs in any way differently from book publishers etc but the same issues exist. These are: copyright ownership AND royality payments. They aren't exactly and permanently tied together.

« Reply #47 on: February 02, 2010, 13:48 »
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Very good information here thanks

what was Fotolias responce "Sorry we dont understand your question, and as your just a contributor we dont care that much if you do die !"


sorry couldnt resist !!

Warren

donding

  • Think before you speak
« Reply #48 on: February 02, 2010, 14:42 »
0
Very good information here thanks

what was Fotolias responce "Sorry we dont understand your question, and as your just a contributor we dont care that much if you do die !"


sorry couldnt resist !!

Warren
Don't know that is what they'd say but I'm sure that is what they think... >:(


 

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