Estate Planning for Art Collectors

How can I protect my valuable art collection after my death?

Art collectors are passionate about their craft.  An art collection will often have both monetary and emotional value.  Your average basic estate plan may leave your art collection unprotected against hefty taxes or the possibility of a forced sale.  For this reason, art collectors should take the time now to ensure their valued collection will be protected after their death through a comprehensive estate plan.

Document Your Collection

One of the steps you should take when embarking on the journey of making an estate plan that accounts for your art collection is to gather all necessary documentation.  You will want to take photographs of each art piece and secure any appraisals as well as bills of sale relating to your art.  Make sure your valuable art collection is insured against potential damage so that it is protected during your lifetime.  

Engage in Smart Estate Planning

Transferring ownership of your art collection upon your death can be a complex process.  Leaving it to loved ones in a will could result in considerable tax penalties and may potentially lead to family discord if the art is not distributed equally. Additionally, some collectors may not want their treasured art sold after their death.  If your collection is passed down through a will, you have no further control over what happens to it.  

Potential estate planning tools that can be of use to the art collector include trusts and corporate entities.  Art collectors may wish to consider placing ownership of the art within a corporation or LLC.  You can then leave the LLC to your loved ones.  By doing this, you will simplify the probate process and allow your art to avoid the need for re-titling.  You can further name a manager who will be responsible for maintaining the art pieces, including storing the art and deciding what pieces to sell.

Trusts are another viable way to pass your art collection to the next generation. With a trust, your art collection will avoid the probate process and any estate tax related issues.  Further, you have the power to put several provisions within the trust concerning the future of your art collection.  Start planning now to protect your valued art collection by contacting OC Wills and Trusts Attorneys today.

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.