An artist came to us for help in finding a way to keep her work together after her death in a way that would provide funding for her family but also ensure continued public access.
She had been advised to set up a company in the 1990s and believed that this owned all her art. We established that in fact she had two businesses – the company that owned all paintings and sculptures from the 1990s onwards and her business as sole trader that owned all her work prior to that date, including an extensive body of prints and lithographs. The artist had a variety of wishes for the way in which her house and studio should be used after her death. She had extensive works of her own but also important pieces by other well-known artists that she wanted certain individuals to inherit.
We were able to confirm that both businesses would qualify for relief from inheritance tax on her death and could therefore be transferred into a flexible trust structure that would benefit both her family and the public. Her studio was transferred to the company to ensure that it too benefitted from relief (saving 40% inheritance tax on this as a result). The artist has identified 'core' works which will form the central collection after her death, 'endowment' works to support these key pieces (representing examples of styles or periods in her work to give depth to any exhibition or study), archive pieces and 'non-core' pieces that can be sold to raise funds to meet the needs of family members and underwrite the costs of managing the central collection after her death. Her Will has two funds, one for family and one for her 'legacy' with separate trustees appointed for each. A detailed letter of wishes has been prepared, which sitting alongside the now completed catalogue, will give solid guidance to her executors and trustees in the years to come.