For those of our clients who own and collect art, their pieces are a source of pride, joy, and shared history. When these same clients go to draft their estate plans, we always advise them to include specific provisions regarding their art, so that they can ensure their collection is well-protected after their passing. To better understand how to handle your art as part of your estate plan, keep the following tips and information in mind.
Why Should I Include My Art in My Estate Plan?
Many individuals view their art differently than their other assets, in that they have a personal connection to many of their pieces. Compared to assets like a vehicle, electronics, or even real estate, art can hold a unique place in a person’s life. When not included in an estate plan, a decedent’s art collection is typically distributed to the person’s “residual beneficiaries,” or those that receive the property not specifically left to another designated beneficiary.
Your artwork could thus go to a broad category of people if you do not stipulate otherwise – for example, it might go to your grandchildren or your nieces and nephews. When there are individual art pieces to sort through, it can be difficult for these groups of beneficiaries to decide who gets which piece. To avoid this conflict, you should include in your will a provision about which individual will receive which specific piece of art.
Details to Keep in Mind
If you are adding your art collection to your will, the first thing you will want to remember is to describe each piece in enough detail for your beneficiaries to identify it easily. By including the Getty Object ID as well as thoughtful descriptors, you can ensure nothing gets lost in the shuffle after your passing.
We also recommend that you speak with your loved ones ahead of time about which pieces of art they might want to inherit. This way, you can make sure the art that you want to preserve is in the right hands and is cared for in the way you would want it to be cared for.
Overall, speaking with an estate planning attorney is the best way to make sure you protect the artwork in your collection as you think about your long-term plans. Talking to an expert can give you the peace of mind and attention to detail you need as you create the perfect estate plan for your individualized circumstances.
Do You Have the Need for an Experienced Houston Estate Planning Attorney?
At McCulloch & Miller, we provide estate planning services backed by over 35 years of experience in the Houston community. If you and your family are looking for legal services related to elder law, trusts, probate, or estate planning, give our office a call for a consultation with a dedicated estate planning lawyer. You can reach us by phone at 713-903-7879, or you can fill out our online form to have an attorney get in touch with you as soon as possible.