If you own artworks, you need to remember to include them in your estate plan. They may be among the most valuable things you own. They may require special treatment due to their nature.
There are several ways to deal with art in your estate plan. You could place pieces in a trust. You could donate them to a gallery for enjoyment by the public. Or you could arrange for them to be sold and the profits given to your children.
How does art differ from other assets?
Here are some things that make dealing with your art collection unique:
- Dividing it decrease its values: You cannot tear a Jackson Pollock in half and leave half to each child. Yet, even separating different works could affect their value. Some artworks increase in value when you have the whole series.
- Your family may not have the means to care for it: Your 3-year-old granddaughter might consider she can throw paint on the canvas just as well as Jackson. Preserving artwork requires somewhere safe from small children and art thieves. Certain pieces need a highly controlled atmosphere to avoid deterioration.
- Your family may not value it as you do: If your children have never understood your fascination with 18th-century German lithographs, you might decide your collection is worthy of a more appreciative audience.
- Its value may increase dramatically: As you cannot split an artwork, you may need to give specific ones to each child. Or leave the painting to your son and assets of an equivalent value to your daughter. Yet, unlike property or money in the bank, the value of an artwork can rocket overnight. If that happens, one child may feel they got a bad deal.
Reviewing your particular situation will be essential to creating a suitable estate plan for you, your family and your artwork.