Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
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Please accept my condolences for your loss. Your companion must have been an interesting person-- having had success in this field!
To respond to your query, the first step is to have the executor of the estate (if you, or if another person) get the local probate court to issue letters testamentary. (You didn't say which state -- but some states call probate court something else; such as surrogate's court).
Once those letters testamentary are issued, copyright registration can be filed with the US Copyright Office at the Library of Congress noting the transfer of copyright ownership. If the documents were previously registered, then the following procedures are be used to record the transfer of copyright ownership: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ12.pdf
Recording is not required, but is a good idea -- as it will put anyone who wants to use the materials on notice so they can contact the copyright owner (you)or an agent to buy rights to use the materials.
If the works were never registered with the Copyright Office, as the current owner, they can be registered for the first time at this government site: http://www.copyright.gov/eco/
If you are producing the works yourself, registration is not necessary -- but is a good idea. As the owner of rights, one always can produce the works without need to register. But it is a good idea to at least have the court issue the letters testamentary so that any other possible heir does not later raise claims. While its always possible to raise a bogus or legitimate claim later, once the estate is properly established and the will certified in court, it becomes harder.
No will was filed. His estate was less 100,000.00. My Probate Attorney issued Affidavits to collect or transfer property without probate. I am the Successor of his Will, solely.