Protecting Your Artistic Legacy – Estate Planning for Artists

Although your death is probably a long way off, it is important that you have a plan to ensure that your affairs are settled the way you want. An estate plan crafted by an experienced estate planning attorney is a legally enforceable set of documents that allows you to name who will have the authority to make decisions for you in the event you cannot, who will take care of your minor children, who will wind up your affairs upon your death, and who will receive your accounts, property, and artwork.

Steps You Can Take to Begin the Process

The first step is to catalog your artwork, including pieces that you have sold. Make sure to specify to whom they were sold and for how much. This information can be helpful in valuing artwork that has not sold and providing a list of potential buyers for when you pass away. You have various options regarding who will receive your artwork. You could…

  • instruct your successor trustee to sell any of your artwork in your possession at your death;
  • designate specific individuals to receive it;
  • have it held by a trust or foundation to be lent or licensed after your death; or
  • provide instructions to donate your work outright to a museum, university, or other organization that might benefit from it.

This knowledge will be helpful for your loved ones to determine who has the artwork and under what circumstances it will need to be returned. Your list should also include any pieces that have been licensed to someone else. It will be important for your loved ones to know about this stream of income, which could continue after your death. Also consider including a list of pieces that you have gifted to individuals or donated to charities. Be sure to include any pieces that you have kept for yourself.

Once you have compiled a list of your artwork, it will then be important to determine the value of any piece that has not already been appraised and that is still considered yours (having been neither donated nor sold). This process can help you understand the value of everything you own (an important step in the estate planning process) and determine if you have adequate insurance to cover your artwork’s value.

The last step is for you to meet with us to start or review your estate planning. During this meeting, we can discuss whom to put in charge of your affairs at your death as well as during any period in which you cannot make or communicate your own decisions. We will also discuss your wishes regarding your artistic legacy. We can discuss your fears, concerns, and objectives to craft a unique plan. We have been lucky to represent some wonderful local artists here at McClenaghan Law Group and hope to continue serving the community of artists in Columbus and beyond. We recognize how valuable your art is and are looking forward to helping protect your legacy. From priceless artwork to real estate property and businesses, if you are ready to discuss your estate planning, give our office a call at 614-429-1053 to schedule a consultation!