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ASCAP royalties directed by estate

  • 1.  ASCAP royalties directed by estate

    Posted 26 days ago
    We have a donor who inherited the rights to royalties from her husband's published music when he passed away. The donor recently passed away, and her children have disclaimed the right to inherit the royalties from her estate. The co-executors of the estate have assigned all current and future royalties to our institution. 

    I'm wondering how to handle processing the first royalty check we received as well as subsequent checks. The check came directly from the publisher (in this case ASCAP, but there are several companies that worked with the original donor). Would hard credit go to the publishing company (ASCAP) and soft credit go to the donor and her husband? Or should we also include the children as soft credit donors as well since they signed away their interest in these royalties, thus making them donors as well? Or should we create a record for the estate and simply soft credit the estate only? I'm also wondering if the publishing company, in this situation, is simply a pass-through organization that is facilitating the payments so that the children do not have to receive them and then make charitable gifts back to us in order to fulfill their parents' wishes. Would that preclude ASCAP from being considered the hard credit donor, since these payments are really the property of the estate, not ASCAP?

    Marie Loson
    Director of Advancement Services
    SUNY Potsdam

  • 2.  RE: ASCAP royalties directed by estate

    Posted 26 days ago
    Hi Marie,

    Ask the executors (or their attorney) to confirm that the gift is from the estate. So long as the kids signed the published rights away to the estate, and not directly to you, they're not donors. They did not own the rights when they were conveyed to you, the estate did.

    The legal donor should be the wife's estate, assuming the executors confirm the above. The publishing company is acting as an agent on behalf of the estate. Whether you choose to soft-credit them or not is a question of how you use soft credits, but generally speaking, an agent of this kind is operating in a purely mechanical role that doesn't align with how we normally think of soft credit.

    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    Data Strategy Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151

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