Miscellaneous Membership Issues
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Miscellaneous Membership Issues

This page is designed to assist you with miscellaneous issues relating to your ASCAP membership. If you have additional questions relating to your membership, please call ASCAP’s Member Services department at 1-800-95ASCAP (1-800-952-7227) or submit a Member Service inquiry through your ASCAP Member Access account.

Royalties

  • ASCAP rules permit living members to assign some or all of his or her royalties in certain situations. Permitted assignments include (a) an assignment to repay an advance, loan or line or credit, (b) an assignment to a corporation or similar entity, at least 95% owned by one or more ASCAP writer member(s), (c) an assignment to a living trust, or (d) an assignment to a family member, non-profit, foundation, or charity. Given the unique needs of the estates of writer members, ASCAP also permits the estate to sell or irrevocably assign the right to receive ASCAP writer royalties.

    All royalty assignments require a $75.00 processing fee.

    If you are interested in assigning your royalties, you may request the required forms in ASCAP Member Access via Member Service Inquiry or by calling ASCAP’s Member Services department at 1-800-95ASCAP (1-800-952-7227). For more information about these assignments, see the Compendium of ASCAP Rules and Regulations, available on our Governing Documents page.

  • All requests to cancel and replace outstanding checks must be made through ASCAP Member Access via Member Service inquiry (Category: 'My Royalties,’ Topic: ‘Cancel and Re-issue Distribution Check’). All check replacements incur a fee of $25.00 per check replaced. ASCAP is unable to stop payment on royalties that have been directly deposited into a bank account.

  • If there is a dispute between two or more parties as to entitlement to all or part of the credits and/or royalties for a work or membership and ASCAP concludes that there is a reasonable basis for the claim, ASCAP may hold royalties attributable to the disputed portion of such interests for as long as ASCAP deems appropriate. ASCAP will hold credits and/or royalties earned by works that are subject to litigation if specifically directed to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction. For more information about ASCAP’s policy regarding claims, see Section 2.8 of the Compendium of ASCAP Rules and Regulations, available on our Governing Documents page.

  • ASCAP can issue a portion of your royalties directly to a former spouse as a result of a marital dissolution. You must complete ASCAP’s Marital Dissolution Notification form, which can be requested in ASCAP Member Access via Member Service Inquiry or by calling ASCAP’s Member Services department at 1-800-95ASCAP (1-800-952-7227). Note that in order to update ASCAP’s records pursuant to a marital dissolution a $250.00 processing fee is required.

  • If ASCAP is served with a federal or state levy, garnishment, restraining notice, judgment, child support order, or other process involving redirection of your royalties to a third party, ASCAP will notify you by First Class mail or e-mail prior to forwarding your royalties to the third party. ASCAP will deduct an administrative fee of $100.00 (or less, if required by law) from future royalties otherwise payable to you for each new process received. No fee is charged for processing a release of an active levy, garnishment, or other continuing order.

  • ASCAP follows all state unclaimed property law and remits unclaimed royalties according to state requirements. Once royalties have been remitted to the state, ASCAP is unable to retrieve those royalties. For more information about ASCAP’s policy regarding unclaimed property, see Article XVII of ASCAP’s Articles of Association and Section 3.9 of the Compendium of ASCAP Rules and Regulations, available on our Governing Documents page.

Deceased Members And Succession

ASCAP takes great care in ensuring that your membership is handled properly from the moment you join the society. We also understand the importance of maintaining accurate records for your membership even after your death. This section is designed to assist you or your heirs in understanding ASCAP’s process in establishing an heir or heirs to your ASCAP membership.


The Process of Naming a Successor to an ASCAP Membership

Notification

Upon receiving notification that a writer member or heir to a member passed away, ASCAP immediately holds all royalties otherwise payable to the decedent. Although royalties will continue to be earned by the membership, such royalties (including any outstanding checks) are held until ASCAP’s records can be updated to reflect the legal heirs to the ASCAP membership. We call these heirs successor members of ASCAP.

Application

ASCAP requests that a representative of the estate of the deceased member complete an Application for Successor Appointment. The application asks for relevant information such as the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of family members and whether the member left any estate planning documents like a Will or trust. Accordingly, the person completing the application should have knowledge about the estate. We ask that copies of the relevant documents, such as the death certificate and any relevant estate planning documents, be returned along with the completed application. There is also a one-time $75.00 processing fee to cover the administrative expense involved with processing the application and setting up any new successor membership(s).

The Review Process

Once the application and supporting documentation are received, we review the application to establish the person is legally entitled to inherit the rights to membership—including the right to receive royalties. Applications are reviewed in the order received. The review process often takes several months and may involve further communication to ensure all paperwork is in order. Once ASCAP has designated a new successor (or successors) to the membership, those individuals are sent a set of documents to complete and return to us.

Updating ASCAP Records

Once we receive the completed documents from the new successor(s), ASCAP updates its records with the new successor(s) information. Any royalties held during this transitional period are then distributed in accordance with the designation. Any held royalties will be distributed in the distribution that corresponds to the distribution in which they were held (e.g. all held domestic distributions will be distributed in the next upcoming domestic distribution).

Successor members will also be given a new member ID and will be able to use ASCAP Member Access, which is a way that our members can update certain personal information on file with us, including associating bank account information for direct deposit of royalties.

Deceased Members and Succession FAQ

  • Please call 1-800-95ASCAP (1-800-952-7227) to speak with a representative from ASCAP’s Member Services department. We will guide you through the process of establishing a successor to the membership.

  • We recommend that you consult an experienced attorney to advise you as to your specific estate planning needs and to draw up the necessary papers. As a general matter, however, it is best to put your wishes in writing, including express provisions to deal with the disposition of ASCAP royalties.

  • If you die without a Will, state laws of intestacy will dictate who receives your membership interest (subject, of course, to the relevant provisions of the Copyright Act). Therefore, if you wish to direct that your membership interest go to your spouse, your children, a trust, or other beneficiaries, you must prepare a Will or other appropriate estate planning documentation to set forth your wishes.

  • Due to potential conflicts and the current state of the law, ASCAP cannot accept beneficiary forms. In order to ensure your wishes are followed, you should include your ASCAP royalties in your estate planning.

  • A living ASCAP member’s request to assign his or her royalties must meet certain criteria to be permitted under ASCAP’s rules. Please consult the Royalties section of this webpage and the Compendium of ASCAP Rules and Regulations, available on our Governing Documents page.

  • Given the unique needs of the estates of writer members, ASCAP does permit the estate to sell or irrevocably assign the right to receive ASCAP writer royalties. ASCAP also permits living members to assign royalties irrevocably to a family member, living trust, or family-held company. Other rights of membership (such as the right to vote) are not assignable. If you are an heir or a successor to a deceased writer member and you are interested in selling or irrevocably assigning the deceased writer’s royalties, you may call our Member Services department (1-800-95ASCAP) or submit a Member Service inquiry via your Member Access account.

  • Bequests cannot be made to ASCAP directly, but you may make a bequest to The ASCAP Foundation, a tax-exempt public charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax law. The Foundation was incorporated in 1975 to promote and support charitable and educational programs in the field of music. The Foundation is completely separate from ASCAP with its own Board of Directors and Advisory Board. It is dedicated to nurturing the music talent of tomorrow, preserving the legacy of the past and sustaining the creative incentive for today's creators through a variety of educational, professional, and humanitarian programs and activities serving the entire music community. For more information on any of the Foundation's programs, or to inquire about including the Foundation in your estate planning, please call (212) 621-6219 or visit its web site at http://www.ascapfoundation.org