Legacy Management for Living Artists

A new white paper just released by Fine Art Wealth Management in collaboration with Montabonel & Partners entitled Legacy Management for Living Artists examines why strategic positioning during an artist's lifetime is an essential feature of a successful legacy. Read full report


Legacy management is not an abstract concept and planning an artistic afterlife is a serious business concern for living artists.  In today's global art market, the significance of securing an artist's estate while he or she is still living seems obvious and yet very few living artists engage in such advanced planning.

A typical working artist produces a significant body of work during the course of their lifetime. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, they must begin thinking about their legacy as an artist and even more importantly, what will ultimately happen with their art. Although an artist's estate may contain other assets, it is the art which concerns the artist most. 

Planning for the care, storage, possible sale, or other disposition of an entire body of work after an artist's death is a large part of an artist's estate planning. Avoiding difficult and expensive infighting between heirs and trustees is also paramount. While this paper covers all facets of estate planning and the important highlights of legacy management, it is not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice.  

Any successful artist who waits until near the time of his or her death to do something about estate planning has waited too long. Estate planning should begin as soon as possible, especially if the artist is accumulating increasing amounts of their own work. 

In the process of designing an estate plan a great deal of factual information must be gathered. In addition to creating an inventory of the art and archival material, the artist will need to collect and provide detailed and accurate financial information to create an effective plan for administration of the estate.

By organising and documenting the career of an artist, one increases the depth of understanding and appreciation that others will have in the future of how the creative process for that artist works.  In so doing, one will increase the art's impact, desirability, and even likely monetary value.

It is clear that family members and other beneficiaries have a crucial function in an artist's estate, as potential inheritors and guardians of the artist's reputation and family name. However, an artist's standing is primarily ensured by the maintenance and enhancement of professional relationships specific to the art world.

Once a successful artist's body of work has passed a certain threshold, a wide range of financial planning considerations come into play. Careful planning can yield significant benefits in the future including financial security for the artist's family, an opportunity to minimise potential tax liability, and the chance for the artist to leave a lasting legacy through proper preservation. 

This white paper is published with the understanding that Fine Art Wealth Management and Montabonel & Partners are not engaged in rendering legal or accounting services. If legal or tax planning advice is required, the services of a competent professional adviser should be sought.