Megan Low, Esq., currently serves as a consultant for the A&BC’s Estate and Legacy Services. She previously held the position of Director of Services for the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts program for five years.
In this excerpt from our recent publication, Estate Planning for Visual Artists: A Workbook for Attorneys & Executors, Megan Low, Director of Services for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, shares a range of considerations and options for artists beginning to plan their legacy.
Ars longa, vita brevis.
Art is lasting, life is short.
Legacy is an opportunity for an artist to answer the question: “How do I want to be remembered?” For some artists, it may be knowing that their work will be cared for or perhaps hang where people may see it from time to time. For others, the goal may be to safeguard a reputation and establish a position in the greater narrative. Quality alone does not guarantee a legacy. Even Vincent van Gogh’s fame is largely dependent on the efforts of his sister-in-law Johanna van Gogh-Bonger to promote his work after his death. Careful management of artwork and assets, the selection of reliable stewards, and clear goals make all the difference in creating a lasting legacy.
Legacy is a highly personal concept and thus has the potential to be a meaningful force in shaping the overall estate plan. As every client is different, every legacy plan will be different.
There is no end of possibilities depending on the artist’s wishes, resources, priorities, connections, practice, output, and history:
Legacy is not synonymous with fame. Many artists choose, in addition to or in place of investing in their own reputations, to use their resources to fulfill other goals:
There is no one answer, but it is a question worth asking: “How do you want to be remembered?”
[Excerpted from our free publication, Estate Planning for Visual Artists: A Workbook for Attorneys & Executors. Download the workbook and other free estate and legacy planning tools here.]