Entertainers Encouraged To Do Proper Estate Planning

Writers, producers, musicians and persons who fall in the category of Entertainers are being reminded that proper estate planning is critical to securing generational wealth.

Proper asset management, in addition to making a will, clearly outlines how property, including intellectual property, and funds should be distributed among family members.

Deputy Administrator General at the Administrator General’s Department (AGD), Stacie Ann Carty, speaking at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, said when there is no will, estates are administered according to the Intestate Estates and Property Charges Act.

“What it does is to detail what persons will get when there is no will. So, in the event someone has died, does not leave a will and has a spouse and say one child, the spouse gets two thirds and the child gets the other third. If it is that there’s one spouse and two children, the spouse gets a half and the other children will share the balance equally,” Mrs. Carty said.

The table in the Act also refers to parents as well, but parents will not benefit if there is a spouse and a child. Mrs. Carty said it is, therefore, “imperative that if you have a parent that you take care of, or anybody else who is dependent on you, that you seek to make a will”.

“If you wish to make a will you can either get the services of an attorney-at-law to assist you or you can go on our website, agd.gov.jm, and we have a will form and detailed instructions that will guide you in your will preparation. This is very important because most of us are very concerned about how we make our decisions for our life. After your death, you will have no decision-making power. The law will determine, if you do not have a will, who gets your assets,” Mrs. Carty added.

Meanwhile, for artistes and entertainers, when a person dies without a will, the Intellectual Property Section of the Department is engaged to manage the collection of royalties.

“Intellectual property rights are completely different from real estate, horses, chattel, motor vehicles and those other types of everyday assets, such as bank accounts or insurance proceeds. You have various collection management organisations across the world, including Jamaica, who deal with collecting all of the royalties that may fall into an estate,” Mrs. Carty noted.

“For example, you may have a musician, and he’s locally based. However, his music might be played in Europe, Asia the rest of Latin America and in the Caribbean. You have these agencies – the collection management organisations that monitor when intellectual property is being used – that collect on behalf of the persons who are entitled and then pays it out,” she added.

She said the AGD liaises with the various collection management organisations to gather the rights of the deceased artiste.

“Also, we have some estates that are very integral into how, for example, reggae started. So, you might have persons who wish to do a documentary. We would engage in licensing that property right that falls to the estate, because that’s a great value to the estate. It’s a very technical asset to administer,” Mrs. Carty said.

“This is probably one of the few estate assets that continuously give for generations. So, it’s a good way to pass on generational wealth. It is very evident in this class of assets in intellectual property, because you constantly have royalties coming in, not just for the entertainer while he or she is alive but also for the family members after they have passed,” she pointed out.

The AGD is the department of government charged with the administration of estates where people have died without leaving a will.

The department also administers estates for persons who do have wills in place, but the executor has renounced their duties.

In these cases, the Administrator General is entitled to act in the estate.
The agency also focuses on estates left to children under the age of 18, as the Department is charged with investigating all the assets that the person may have left behind, collecting the assets, paying all the debt and then passing the entitlement to the beneficiaries.

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