Much to the chagrin of music companies, people don’t buy a lot of physical copies of music anymore. Rather than purchasing a physical CD or record, people buy a digital file of the songs they want. If you are an audiophile, determining how you can pass on your digital music to your heirs is an important part of your estate plan.
If you purchase music from iTunes, how to pass on your music is simple. You can’t. When you make an iTunes music purchase, you are do not buy a copy of the music. Instead, you purchase a license to use the digital file. Your use of the file is subject to the terms and conditions of the license. As The Economist recently pointed out, the license is revoked when you pass away. If you purchase music from other sources, you need to look at the terms of service to determine how to pass the music on, if you can at all. Needless to say, if you illegally download the music, you can’t legally bequeath it to anyone.
If you are not a big music person, you might have other digital assets that are important to you. If they are important enough for you to want to pass on to your heirs, you should spend some time with an estate planning attorney to determine how you can do that legally and appropriately.
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