I'm addressing a sensitive topic today - who inherits the publishing rights to your writing should the worst happen?
A few weeks ago I read a newspaper article about Stieg Larrson and the battle for ownership of his writing. It seems Larrson died without leaving a will that stated his partner, Eva Gabrielsson, should inherit publishing rights. Because he was not married to his partner of 32 years it passed to his legal next of kin - his brother and father. This means Gabrielsson has not benefited financially from the huge success of his novels.
My situation is quite similar to Larrson. Mr. G and I are not married (I can call him Mr. G because his surname is Grant), and because I was fostered, I have no contact with my biological family. Legally my next of kin are my brother, who I've never met, and my sister who I have not seen in ten years. There is no way I want either to inherit publishing rights to my work.
It seems clear to me I need to make provision in my will to address this issue, so that Mr. G would inherit the rights should I pass away. However, it would also be prudent to name another person, should Mr. G already be dead. At this stage I have no idea who.
All this might seem morbid and perhaps a little egotistical - after all, I've not yet published a novel. But is it? Have you asked yourself who would inherit the publishing rights should you die? Is there provision in your will to ensure the right person or people benefit?
I recognise this is a difficult and very personal matter, so I'm not looking for people to tell me the contents of their wills, rather to highlight a topic you may not yet have considered important enough to address. Maybe you are like a lot of people I know, who won't make a will for fear of tempting death. Maybe you believe the worst will never happen. Unfortunately, it can.
I will be back on Friday, when I promise the post will be more light-hearted.