OK so totally morbid but do you have a will??
For all of my author peeps I'm specifically looking at you.......
Whether you traditionally publish, self-publish or are a hybrid like me you have REAL tangible things that can get all sorts of squirrely if you don't have a will before kicking the big one.
Book rights and ongoing royalties DO NOT automatically / magically get transferred to who you want them to go to. And for most of us we don't have a couple books our heirs / executors will have to deal with. Some have dozens and some have hundreds.
You can make this process SO MUCH simpler by getting your will taken care of now.
Traditional Publishers need proof of who the rights / royalties need to be transferred to before they can make the change.
And for you self pub authors out there thinking this doesn't apply to you - etailers will need the same proof to redirect royalties to your heir(s).
I know I want my book money to go on forever and ever and ever. Getting a will now will cover it forever and always or until you need to make changes to it. So you're only making a little bit of money now, but what if in 2 yrs or 5 yrs you've hit lists and have tons rolling in?
A lot of us have really small children to think of too. If you want them to inherit from you (money / property / royalties / etc) in most states they can't legally inherit direct to them until they're 18. If they're still considered a minor your assets must first be put into a trust with an executor or executrix of the trust to over see it / manage it / disperse it when you call for etc. Plus you can call out exactly who gets what and when. It can be at a certain age or at a certain milestone - graduating college, etc or even a combo platter of whichever comes first.
And another thought for people that are older / are married for the second time - if you have an older will you've never updated does it name people in it that don't apply anymore? Deceased or estranged or off their rocker. All could be options. And if you have no will at all and are married for the second time and there are step children involved they might end up with a vested interest in your property but you don't want it that way. Last thing you want to do is have it harder on the people who survive you to straighten it all out.
When you get a will put together by an attorney you can normally get your will, physician's directive if you'd like one, and can set up medical power of attorney's and trusts for your heirs all at the same time. And don't assume people know what you want. They don't. And people will be grieving which makes everything harder after you've gone to the big book store in the sky (Yes I really am enjoying my euphemisms!!).
Doing something online or putting something together yourself is an option as well but then the documents don't reside anywhere else safe other than with you or in a safe at home or a filing cabinet nobody else knows about / can be easily "lost". Doing it all with an attorney takes all the guess work out of it and they keep a copy as well. This way you know it's always safe and secure.
I got everything handled with an attorney that specializes in just this type of thing and it took less than 45 minutes and cost less than $200. Then I have separate sheets talking about little specific things I want to go to people. Family jewelry, photo albums, etc. AND a list of all of my books and which publisher they reside out.
Oh - and actually tell somebody about the will or send a copy to the person you're naming as your executor. Yes it seems obvious but you'd be surprised.
Nobody likes to think about when they're going to go into the light but I'd much rather have everything handled so I'm all good to enjoy every moment I have!!
Decadently Yours,Jennifer Kacey
Jennifer Kacey is a writer, mother, and business owner living
with her miniman in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her
dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. The
best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle
for anything less.