Estate Planning Questions for the Visual Artist

Heather Cox, a woman with light skin, short cropped gray hair and wire rim glasses, leans over and cuts undulating lines from a large sheet of white paper with an x-acto knife.
Artist Heather Cox (1998 MFA Grant recipient) in her studio in New York, 2018. Photograph by Reginald Eldridge, Jr.

The Foundation’s recent publication Career Documentation for the Visual Artist: A Legacy Planning Workbook & Resource Guide, is a companion to our two estate planning guides, created in collaboration with the Arts & Business Council Boston. The guides instruct individual artists and their attorneys or estate executors on legal matters pertaining to intellectual property, copyright, and various estate vehicles. Together, the Career Documentation and Estate Planning publications provide critical resources for artists at all career stages.

As a bridge between the two, Career Documentation for the Visual Artist includes a worksheet among the end matter with key estate planning questions for artists. The questions in the worksheet encourage artists to consider their legacy in a larger context and to prepare for conversations with an estate planning attorney. Some of the big-picture questions include:

  • How do you want to be remembered?
  • How do you want your work to be remembered?
  • Do you want to support any particular group, location, or charity?
  • Who could be the steward for your legacy?

The Estate Planning Questionnaire also includes sections on your artwork inventory; business relationships (like managers or galleries); storage, maintenance, and preservation considerations for your property and your work; gifts and bequests; trusts and foundations; and copyright issues.

We hope this worksheet will prompt you—the artists in our community—to have conversations with yourself and your loved ones during your lifetime to help define and secure your legacy.

You can download the worksheet below. For more detailed information, you can access the free Estate Planning Workbook for Visual Artists, along with our other resource guides for artists.

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Professional Practice