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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 27 Sep 2016 (Tuesday) 16:16
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Managing a photographic estate

 
CaliWalkabout
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Sep 27, 2016 16:16 |  #1

My uncle, who has terminal brain cancer, has asked me to take control of his photographic assets. He has been a serious nature photographer for many years and his photography is professional quality. He shot slides for years before going digital. I'm wondering if anyone on the forum has experience managing another photographer's estate in this way. It would be helpful to hear about other peoples' experiences - if there are lessons learned during the process, things I should avoid, etc.

It seems likely that I'll have a lot of leeway in how I approach this. Unfortunately, my uncle isn't able to specify his exact wishes. I expect the only person I'll have to answer to is his estate attorney.

There are a lot of complicating factors related to digital photography in someone's estate, especially when the photographer can't help with technicalities like passwords or whether his digital files are located on an external drive or stored on the cloud. I can't imagine anyone storing all their raw files on the cloud, it just doesn't make sense to me, but maybe that's how he did it.


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Alveric
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Sep 27, 2016 16:55 |  #2
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For starters, I'd get the passwords ASAP and get the stuff out of the flimsy cloud and backed up to media on site, possibly even printed out (yes, it ain't gonna be cheap, but as manager you are now master archivist ;) ).


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Sep 30, 2016 06:33 |  #3

CaliWalkabout wrote in post #18142047 (external link)
My uncle, who has terminal brain cancer, has asked me to take control of his photographic assets.

You have been asked to take control of them by the current owner. However who will actually inherit them/own them when he dies? Is he actually leaving them (as in copyright ownership) to you or to someone else? Do you have a good relationship with this person?


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Alveric
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Sep 30, 2016 09:35 |  #4
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Methinks that the copyright will be the "Estate of ABC XYZ" legal entity's.


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OhLook
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Sep 30, 2016 11:29 |  #5

CaliW., it's important to know whether your uncle's wishes for his photographic materials are written into his will, if indeed he's made one. An oral request or promise has a shaky status when a deceased person's property is distributed.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Sep 30, 2016 17:34 |  #6

Alveric wrote in post #18144470 (external link)
Methinks that the copyright will be the "Estate of ABC XYZ" legal entity's.

Yes but only until the executors distribute the estate, at which point the copyright belongs to whoever they were bequeathed to. If they weren't specifically bequeathed to someone the executor could split the collection or even sell it.


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kjonnnn
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Oct 03, 2016 12:39 |  #7

You speak of his "photographic estate" as if it is some separate entity. Its not. Its all a part of your Uncle's assets or estate should he pass. While he is alive, who has power of attorney? Is there a will? If there is a will, and his photographic work is passed to you, your life will be easier. If there is no will, or his photographic work isnt specifically mentioned or is included under "all other assets," his photographic work (and copyright) will pass to those in the line of success in his state. (Usually thats spouse > children > parents > siblings > other relatives. Google "inheritance succession [UNCLE'S STATE] ). If some relative ahead of you deems his work valuable, you're in for a fight if some administrator just gives you your uncle's work. The Administrative would be advised to follow the line of success.

All that is to say, before you put alot of work into managing his work, do your due diligence to see if its going to pass to you legally.




  
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CaliWalkabout
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Oct 04, 2016 14:35 |  #8

Thanks for the input so far. I'm an attorney so I'm not unaware of the technicalities on the legal side regarding how things are documented. I'm mostly exploring strategies for approaching management of another person's photography collection.


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frozenframe
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Oct 07, 2016 06:08 |  #9

CaliWalkabout wrote in post #18148303 (external link)
Thanks for the input so far. I'm an attorney so I'm not unaware of the technicalities on the legal side regarding how things are documented. I'm mostly exploring strategies for approaching management of another person's photography collection.

Since you are an attorney, IMHO, you should seek out another attorney, one that specializes in the arts, fine-arts, graphic illustrations. Did your uncle shoot professionally? Were any of images licensed to others, such as publications, for advertising, anything? Managing and maintaining releases and copyright registrations would be very, very important since they should be kept FOREVER. IIRC copyright is good for 75 yrs past the death of the author.


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Managing a photographic estate
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