Estate Planning 101

How to Transfer Film Royalties into a Trust

Explore the process of securing your film royalties for the future by transferring them into a trust with our step-by-step guide, ensuring your creative efforts continue to provide for you and your loved ones.
October 12, 2023

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Film royalties, like any other valuable asset, can be placed in a trust. This process is not only beneficial for estate planning and wealth management, but it also ensures the continued enjoyment of royalties by your heirs. This blog post will take you through the steps on how to transfer film royalties into a trust.

Understanding Trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person (the trustee) holds and manages assets for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). This legal entity can be used to hold various types of assets, including film royalties. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, depending on the level of control you wish to retain.

Reasons to Transfer Film Royalties into a Trust

Placing your film royalties in a trust can provide several advantages. Firstly, it offers protection from creditors and lawsuit judgments. Secondly, it can provide tax benefits, especially if you're receiving substantial royalties. Lastly, it can ensure a smooth transition of wealth to your heirs, avoiding probate and potential disputes.

How to Set Up a Trust for Film Royalties

  1. Choose the type of trust: Depending on your needs, you may opt for a revocable trust (which can be changed or cancelled) or an irrevocable trust (which can't be altered without the trustee's consent).
  2. Select a trustee: The trustee will be responsible for managing the trust's assets. This could be a trusted individual or a professional trust company.
  3. Create the trust document: This legal document outlines the terms of the trust, including the beneficiaries and the trustee's responsibilities.
  4. Fund the trust: This involves transferring assets into the trust. In this case, the film royalties.

Process of Transferring Film Royalties into a Trust

  1. Calculate the value of the royalties: This involves determining the present and future value of the royalties. A financial advisor or accountant can assist with this process.
  2. Assign the royalties to the trust: This requires a legal document that transfers the ownership of the royalties from your name to the trust.
  3. Notify the payer: The production company or other entity paying the royalties must be notified about the change in ownership.
  4. Document the transfer: Keep detailed records of the transfer, including all relevant legal documents and communications.

Getting Professional Help

The process of transferring film royalties into a trust can be complex, involving legal and financial considerations. Therefore, consulting with an attorney or financial advisor experienced in this area is recommended. They can guide you through the process, ensuring all legal requirements are met and potential tax benefits are maximized.


Transferring film royalties into a trust is a sound strategy for protecting your assets and planning for the future. With professional guidance and careful planning, you can ensure your wealth is preserved and passed on to your beneficiaries according to your wishes.