When you consider being someone's heir, you might think immediately of the assets that will eventually come your way. But heirship isn't all gold and silver; it can also come with responsibilities to the legacy that was left behind. This is true whether you are the heir to an artist, a business owner or someone with a lot of various interests or philanthropic campaigns. As an heir, you might find yourself as part of legal battles both during probate and in the future.
One example of this is playing out in the news. The heirs of Marvin Gaye and another songwriter are suing artist Ed Sheeran, claiming that Sheeran stole musical composition from "Let's Get It On." The lawsuit claims that the same composition is used in Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud."
This isn't Sheeran's first run-in with such a lawsuit, and it isn't the first such lawsuit that the heirs of Marvin Gaye have filed. They've previously filed, and won, lawsuits against other artists for the same reason.
Most people aren't the heirs of major songwriters or music moguls, but you might be surprised at the assets you will want to protect. Business branding, logos, artwork, writings and even the personal diaries of the deceased are all creative properties that heirs might have a right to. Protecting these properties can be important from both a financial and a family legacy perspective, and working with an estate law professional can help you understand how to protect such assets. If you have creative assets yourself and want to empower your heirs to protect those assets in the future, taking estate-planning action now is a good idea.
Source: Digital Music News, "Ed Sheeran Sued By Heirs of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ Co-Writer," Daniel Adrian Sanchez, Aug. 10, 2016