"Estate planning" is complex and tax laws change frequently and so it is advisable to consult a specialist art solicitor who can help draft up a will or form any trusts as needed.
Below are some basics issues that need to be considered:
- It is essential that the artist prepare an inventory, enabling your estate to be effectively managed.
- Decisions taken during your lifetime, in relation to exhibition and marketing of the work and in relation to copyright licensing, are likely to continue after death and any artist would be advised to ensure that these wishes have been made clear and the person in charge (the 'executor') will implement them. Where works are left by will, it is possible to leave a separate "statement of wishes" (sometimes known as a "living will") although as a matter of law, these are not always binding.
- Another alternative is to set up a trust, where the trust deed can specify how works etc are to be managed. Where a trust is set up, the tax consequences must also be considered. A specialist art solicitor can advise more thoroughly on this course of action.
- If you were leaving works by way of will, you would also be advised to consider expenses related to those works such as insurance, maintenance or storage of works and how that were to be financed; for example from the sale of works or other assets in the estate or a cash gift. You may also wish to make gifts during your lifetime to make use of various lifetime tax exemptions.
- Detailed tax advice is beyond the scope of this FAQ and you need to take independent tax advice or to consult with a specialist in trust and estate planning.
- DACS have put together a basic factsheet on how to protect Copyright after death