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Old 01-27-2014, 07:28 AM
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timelady timelady is offline
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Your legacy? Wills and such

As suggested in the photographing thread, I'm starting a new thread to discuss how we all arrange for our work's legacy after we're gone.

Opinions posted in the other thread hit both sides, both optimistic and pessimistic. If everyone could share again it'd be great to read. (yes, even the pessimistic thoughts!)


I'll start with a few bits. I wrote a will 2-3 (can't remember?) years ago after a head injury sort of scared me into it. I used some advice from an art legal firm here in London (found via DACS.org.uk). Basically I found out three important things that helped me:

1. Intellectual property (copyright) is a property. You can leave it to someone in your will just like any other goods or property. That gives them the right to enforce the copyright, sell it, earn license royalties, etc.

2. Actual property, the paintings themselves, is completely separate property to the copyright and can be left to someone different.

3. Artist Resale Right is also transferable to heirs BUT the heir can only claim royalties if he/she also a citizen of a country/state that has Artist Resale Rights laws.



Number 3 was slightly complicated in my case. As I was a US citizen only when I wrote my will, I wasn't entitled to Artist Resale Right in the UK/EU. (the right applies to citizens only, not residents) Now that I am a UK citizen, I can reassign this right to an heir but *only* to a UK/EU citizen. (the USA doesn't have Artist Resale Rights laws yet, except California)

So for now, my resale rights are left to UK people, while my actual property (paintings and copyright) are left to US family.


Any other ideas? Stories? Top tips?
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:36 AM
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Diane Cutter Diane Cutter is offline
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

This is a timely thread for me, Tina... We are in the process of making new wills.

I'm giving my art work and plates (woodcuts, mostly) to my daughters and I am willing the copyright to any and all artwork to my daughters and their offspring. It's good for 70 years after my death. I figure they can work it out among themselves if they wish to do something with it.

The one thing I have to do is establish what art works these are. Fortunately I've kept good records for the last 20 years (and none hardly prior to that, alas). This list is being written up and will be witnessed by the lawyer to establish that I made the list.

Fortunately what is written up in Puerto Rico holds up in US courts.

Diane
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:19 PM
Artyczar Artyczar is offline
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

I was the "pessimistic" view I suppose.

But I know all about copyright laws and keep immaculate records of my work now, while I am alive. The main reason I suppose I am pessimistic is because I ripped up my previous wills about how my work should be handled after I'm gone. Perhaps I did not give enough information about why I decided to do that.

It was worded in such a way that it was assumed (on my part) that my work was going to be worth a lot more than it was while I was alive and I later decided that 1. that is probably not going to be the case, and 2. it should not be up to me how my nieces and nephew use those profits of unsold works if they were worth a lot. I'd rather they use the money any way they see fit.

The fact of the matter is, I feel that my nieces and nephew are taken care of already. My brother has them set up. They have good lives, trust me. And I should focus on what I can do for myself while I am alive and make myself worth as much as possible now. The chances are, I will be worth more during my lifetime than after my death. I have no more visions of grandeur, and it doesn't do me any good to make plans for such.

I previously had wanted my "heirs" to create a foundation for emerging artists, but I doubt they will be able to do that on nickles and dimes. It will most likely cost them money for storage, that is, if they care enough to store it. As it is right now, they have shown no interest that I am even an artist, let alone have ever seen a painting. Nor does my brother approve of my life. There are no paintings of mine in his home, etc.

This is not pessimistic. This is reality. I wouldn't be surprised if they turned my work into firewood. There would be nothing I could do about this.

So, I just assume wait until I am a bit older before I write something up. Maybe I will meet a young person, a friend, a student, a gallery, a patron I can leave my work to later down the line that will really want it. And I don't think that is pessimistic, (waiting).

And if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, my long-time boyfriend will know exactly what to do. After he peels himself off the floor, that is.

Last edited by Artyczar : 01-27-2014 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:41 PM
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Diane Cutter Diane Cutter is offline
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

Arty... Just to be clear, I have no illusions that my work will have increased value after my death... quite the opposite. However, I'm fortunate to have artistic kids and, if they wish to use my work in their fine jewelry or as illustration in their writings, they have my blessings (and the copyright).

Diane
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:24 PM
Davkin Davkin is offline
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

This is an interesting question because there is a flip side to this coin. Could leaving a lot of work behind actually become a burden to your heirs? Arty alluded to this with the storage issue. I know of someone who's grandmother did a lot painting as a hobby. When she died they discovered the whole attic was full of her paintings. So now they gotta figure out what to do with all of those paintings. She said they were pretty good paintings but they only have so much wall space! My guess is they'll end up selling them at yard sales for a couple bucks a piece, in the mean time they sit taking up a bunch of space.

The only heirs I might have in the future are two nieces, they are too young right now to care so I won't worry about it for a while, my paintings have no commercial value yet anyway, don't know if they ever will.

David
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:59 PM
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

Ideally I would probably leave all the art supplies and materials to the local CC where I learned so much.

I would also leave most of the artwork to the Art Dept there to auction off for purchasing supplies.

My relatives are all well off and much richer than I, so they neither nor want to need the burden of all those paintings.

at least that is my intention right now.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:42 PM
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

I am not a lawyer, but please look into living trusts. A will goes to court, a living trust skips probate fees. You don't want to leave part of your estate to your attorneys and the courts.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:45 PM
Artyczar Artyczar is offline
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

Hi again,

I wanted to come back and say (and for Diane's sake) that whatever I say here is not a reflection on what I think of anyone else. I do not think that just because I think one way that I assume the opposite of others. I also do not judge anyone for what they do or think. I actually love everyone for who they are!

Okay, roger, and out.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:27 PM
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

I just got a do-it-yourself will kit, which had quite a lot of information about wills and living trusts and more, so this has been on my mind, too.

And thank you, Tina and Diane, for pointing out that copyright is a separate thing from the original artwork and needs to be addressed. I hadn't even begun to think about that.

I don't know how I'm going to handle this yet at all. My nieces and nephew are in their teens and twenties. My nephew is a filmmaker, so he understands about arts issues, though not necessarily as they apply to paintings. It's a lot to think about, and I appreciate hearing the thoughts of others about it.

With thanks for everyone's thoughts about this,
Karen
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:20 AM
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

My attorney did my will about 4 years ago. All of my unsold work will go to my two daughters. They will keep a few pieces and sell the bulk of my body of work through my current dealer. That should give them a nice amount to enjoy.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:50 AM
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

Have you addressed copyright issues in the will, too, Linda?

Appreciatively,
Karen
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:20 AM
IanBertram IanBertram is offline
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

Interesting thread, which at 67 concerns me perhaps more than most! I have a will which is quite simple in that everything goes to my wife or if she predeceases me, to my daughter. They both know that while my art may not have huge value, it is more than just casual junk. I haven't mentioned the copyright side though. I'm thinking it might be a good idea to write a codicil (I think that's the word) which sets out explicitly the position re my art work, materials and copyright. The copyright side could be critical since I have thousands of digital files, many of which have never been printed or published, but which could be sold to an illustration library perhaps.

Explicit instructions would cover all this and also the case of both predeceasing me, in which case everything goes to nominated charities.

Last edited by IanBertram : 01-28-2014 at 06:23 AM. Reason: Further thoughts
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:28 AM
IanBertram IanBertram is offline
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

Another thought. This looks like being of long term use. Is it worth making it a sticky thread or keeping it highlighted in some way?
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:46 AM
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

I can see the issue with assumptions about future value and trusts and foundations and things. I don't assume anyone will actually *want* the work, lol! But at least they can decide for themselves what to do. But the time of my death (be it soon or later) there should be at least a moderate secondary market for my work and they could sell some of it. Even if just to go on a nice holiday.

Since copyright doesn't require the original paintings, if I leave the files and the rights at least that could sort of sit passively until someone wanted to do something with it. No pressure, no storage space.

Probably worth adding that you don't have to leave to people. If you don't think your family or such would want the work or copyrights, you can always see if a charity you support would like any of it. Depending on your current career status even an art organisation may think it worthwhile to have your copyright for future.

Tina.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:28 AM
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Diane Cutter Diane Cutter is offline
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Re: Your legacy? Wills and such

Good idea on sticking this thread, Ian. It's now stuck for easier access (especially for those of us who lose things and I'm a big 'loser')...

Diane
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