Estate Planning 101

How to Transfer Plant Patents into a Trust

Discover the detailed process of transferring plant patents into a trust with our informative guide. This post will help you securely manage your intellectual property assets and ensure their proper handling in the future.
February 4, 2024

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When we think of assets that can be placed into a trust, tangible assets such as real estate or personal property like a jet ski often come to mind. However, intangible assets like plant patents also hold significant value and can be transferred into a trust. This blog post will guide you on how to transfer plant patents into a trust.

Understanding Trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts can be arranged in various ways and can specify exactly how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries.

Why Transfer Plant Patents into a Trust?

Plant patents, like any other patents, represent a form of intellectual property. They provide the holder with exclusive rights to a certain plant variety, which can be commercially valuable. By transferring a plant patent into a trust, it ensures the patent's protection and provides a clear mechanism for its future control and use. This can also provide tax benefits and avoid probate.

Setting Up a Trust for Plant Patents

  1. Determine the type of trust: Depending on your circumstances and goals, you might choose a revocable trust (which can be changed or terminated by the trustor) or an irrevocable trust (which cannot be altered without the beneficiary's consent).
  2. Select a trustee: The trustee will manage the trust assets on behalf of the beneficiaries.
  3. Create the trust document: This legal document will outline the terms of the trust, including how and when the trust assets (in this case, the plant patents) will be distributed.
  4. Fund the trust: Transferring the plant patents into the trust officially "funds" the trust.

Procedure to Transfer Plant Patents into a Trust

  1. Valuation of the plant patents: It's important to obtain a professional appraisal of the plant patents to determine their value.
  2. Assign the patent rights to the trust: This involves creating and signing a legal document that transfers ownership of the patent rights from the individual to the trust.
  3. Record the transfer with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): This office maintains a database of patent ownership and it is important to update this record to reflect the transfer to the trust.
  4. Maintain records: Keep a copy of all documents related to the transfer for future reference.

Seek Professional Assistance

Transferring plant patents into a trust involves complex legal and financial processes. It's recommended to seek the advice of a lawyer or financial advisor familiar with intellectual property and trust law. They can guide you through the process and help address any potential legal or financial issues.


While the process may seem daunting, transferring plant patents into a trust is an effective way to protect and manage this valuable intellectual property. With the right guidance and careful planning, you can ensure that your plant patents are safeguarded for future use and enjoyment.