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Industry Insider – May your works survive you: Wills, estates and your manuscripts

12 September @ 10:00 - 11:30 BST

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Copyright lasts for 70 years after your death, so it is important to plan for how best to continue to manage and control your estate.

The SoA’s estates team will discuss wills, estates, archives and manuscripts with solicitors from England and Scotland and answer questions on executors, bequests, financial planning and how to ensure your wishes are respected and your work’s potential maximised.



  • Welcome, introductions and housekeeping from Nicola Solomon – Chief Executive, SoA (3 mins)
  • Panel Discussion chaired by Nicola Solomon – Chief Executive, SoA with Sarah Burton – Head of Advisory Team, SoA, Robert Craig & Matthew Smith (60 mins)
  • Comfort break (5 mins)
  • Q&A with audience (20 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments (2 mins)
  • This event will be moderated by Catherine Fuller – Senior Publishing Contracts Advisor, SoA


What will this session cover?

We will be looking at the following from the perspectives of both Scottish and English law:

  • What is your literary estate and what should you do with it?
  • Should you have a will?
  • What about literary executors?
  • Donating and selling manuscripts.
  • Managing a deceased author’s affairs.


Who is this session for?

Every author or agent, and anyone who manages a literary estate


Send us your questions in advance 

If you would like to send questions in advance, email Catherine Fuller [email protected] with ‘Wills, Estates and Manuscripts’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.


SoA @ Home fundraising bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links, a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The Line-up 


Nicola Solomon – Chief Executive, SoA

Nicola’s role encompasses protecting authors’ interests in negotiations/disputes with publishers and agents, advising individual authors and campaigning for authors’ rights, as well as for the wider cultural environment.

Nicola is an expert in the publishing industry and the associated law, from copyright and defamation, to privacy, data protection and contract.

She is a Deputy District Judge and is the Chair of the Creators’ Rights Alliance. She sits on the boards of the International Authors’ Forum, and the British Copyright Council.


Sarah Burton – Head of Advisory Team and Senior Publishing Contracts Advisor, SoA

Sarah leads the advisory team and advises members on publishing contracts and issues. Sarah also handles our literary estates, including professional stage licences.


Robert Craig

Robert Craig is a senior consultant in the Private Client Department of Howard Kennedy LLP solicitors in London. He has a wide experience in all aspects of legal practice but nowadays mainly deals with Wills, trusts and charity matters, particularly specialising in the arrangements for authors and artists. He is the executor and trustee of many estates and has handled the affairs of Nobel Prize and Booker Prize winners.


Matthew Smith

Matthew is part of Harper Macleod’s private client team based in Edinburgh and has a particular focus in estate planning matters. He works closely with individuals and families to ensure their affairs are well protected and organised in a tax efficient manner. Matthew administers a wide range of estates, including high-value estates, estates with international assets across multiple jurisdictions, estates involving digital assets, and contentious estates. Matthew is also involved with the day-to-day management of trusts, and works closely with trustees to ensure the protection of trust assets.


Need to know 


  • Attendees will have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • If you require BSL interpretation for this event, please email [email protected]

Before the event

  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk /spam email folder.
  • Please add [email protected] to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails

During the event

  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • This event is 90 minutes.

After the event

    • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
    • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place using the registration form below.

All #SoAatHome events are free but if you can afford to, please consider donating to our Authors’ Contingency Fund and we suggest a minimum donation of £5. The fund is to help professional authors experiencing financial hardship. DONATE HERE

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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.



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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.




12 September
10:00 - 11:30 BST
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Sophia A Jackson