We have recently assisted an artist by renegotiating the terms of his contract with his gallery. He came to us for help in preparing a new Will and we suggested that we review the contract at the same time.
We discovered that it contained a clause giving the gallery a right to continue to represent the artist's estate even after his death, with no option for his executors to alter the terms of the contract. This would have allowed the gallery to negotiate sales and hold exhibitions without any consultation with the family and, worse still, to extend the contract for another 5-year term without the agreement of the executors. We were able to raise this issue sensitively with the gallery and amend the relevant clause, avoiding any ill-feeling between the artist and his key contacts there.
Our artist has since lost mental capacity, so it was fortunate that this was completed in time. Without capacity, an artist cannot change the terms of a contract (or their Will) unless an application to court is made. These applications can cost £10,000s to make.