Estate Planning Part 3: ASCAP Membership
Upon the death of an ASCAP member, his or her ASCAP membership may be passed on to a spouse, child, loved one, or anyone he or she chooses, or state law dictates. Individuals who receive a membership interest are called "successor members." So long as the original member's copyrights continue, when a successor member dies or multiple successor members die, further successors can be appointed.
ASCAP relies upon survivors of deceased members to advise ASCAP of the date of death so that ASCAP can provide the appropriate forms that must be submitted to name a successor to the deceased member’s ASCAP membership. The time it takes to name a successor member generally depends on the complexity of the process required to settle the deceased member’s estate.
Even if the deceased songwriter or composer was not an ASCAP member at the time of death, he or she may be posthumously elected to membership, and then have a successor appointed to that membership. Someone may also file a posthumous application for publisher membership on behalf of the deceased.
Please keep in mind that ASCAP cannot offer legal, tax or estate planning advice. We strongly encourage you to consult with your tax advisor regarding estate planning. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, seek out a professional to help.