cynic wrote:an estate may not always exist...an annuity may be all that is left.
Some sort of estate MUST exist when the creator dies, unless the creator was homeless in a ditch somewhere, but we're only concerned with the specific continuing rights to that person's creative works, not his financial worth, and if his children are still in need of such a financial necessity 60 years beyond the origin of that work, well, I'm really not feeling sympathetic. And please consider how long 60 years is. Example. Famous writer writes his first financially successful book when he's say 30, and that's about the time he also has a (first) child. He writes say five more bestsellers spread evenly over the next 20 years, and then retires, one of the rare few with plenty of royalties from continued sales to make him (plus his wife and a couple of kids growing up) VERY comfortable. He dies at 80. If his wife survives him, she will continue to own the rights for his first novel for another 10 years, but moving through his catalog, she has a good 30 years to cash in on his last novel. But lets say the wife dies 15 years after her husband. At that point, the children (the oldest now being 65, officially a senior citizen!) still have an additional 15 years to rake in profits from the exclusive rights to dad's last work, plus whatever earlier works are still winding down on their 60 year run.
cynic wrote:should the artist, or any other successful person be denied the right to have their children benefit as they wished?
See above; the children WILL benefit, they'll inherit an estate or annuity or both free and clear from the accrued financial success of the creative parent, and they'll also potentially earn more from the exclusive rights to their parent's work, possibly well into their senior years, because 60 years is a long friggin' time. If there isn't an estate to inherit up front, then either the parent did a crappy job of capitalizing on the success of the creative work (probably indicating the last thing on his mind was any wish for the benefit of the children), or the creative work was never that valuable in the first place.
cynic wrote:must the society at large be offered the right to pick over the bones; at the expense of the people closest to the source of that wealth?
After 60 years?! If the creative work had merit or market viability, they should have already made a profit to pass down through several generations. If not, it's probably too late anyway.
cynic wrote:might those offspring have as good, or better capacity to carry on a legacy?
No. Absolutely not. Offspring rarely honestly give a crap about "legacy", unless they can abuse it for a profit. Tell 'em to get a job like everybody else...