Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Estate Planning for Artists

Estate planning is really about tax planning because one of the estate planning attorney's goals is to preserve a client's assets (i.e., act in the best interests of the client). With artists, this preservation has a little bit of a twist. The client has physical property (like paintings or manuscripts), but she also has intellectual property (like copyrights and trademarks).

And what do you do when a client's wishes and judgment are perhaps clouded by mental illness? In a nutshell, the estate planning attorney must be well versed in all kinds of matters beyond simply drafting wills. It's not merely a qusetion of intestacy; family resentments, mental illness, and bitter history come to the fore when money is at stake.

To read about the collision of these issues in the life and death of a famous author, check out For Gore Vidal, a Final Plot Twist from the New York Times. It seems Mr. Vidal bequeathed everything to Harvard University, though he has no prior connections---such as education---to the school.

To read some of Mr. Vidal's works, check the library catalog. For more on planning the estates of artists, check out