Estate Planning for Artists and Other Creatives

Estate planning is essential for everyone, but it can be especially important for
artists and creatives. Not only do these individuals often have unique assets and
income streams, but they may also have specific wishes for how their intellectual
property and legacy are managed after they pass away. In this article, we’ll explore
some key considerations for artists and creatives when it comes to estate planning.

Identify Your Assets
One of the first steps in estate planning is identifying your assets. For artists and
creatives, this may include not only physical assets like artwork or studio
equipment, but also intellectual property like copyrights, trademarks, and patents.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of what you own and how it’s valued,
as this can help inform decisions about how to distribute your estate.
Consider a Trust
For many artists and creatives, a trust can be an effective estate planning tool. A
trust is a legal arrangement in which a trustee holds and manages assets on behalf
of beneficiaries. There are several types of trusts. One common option is a
revocable living trust. This type of trust allows you to retain control over your
assets while you’re alive, but it also provides a plan for managing your assets if you
become incapacitated or pass away.
A trust can be particularly useful for artists and creatives because it can provide for
the ongoing management of intellectual property rights. For example, you might
create a trust that holds the rights to your artwork or music and designate a trustee
to manage those rights after your death. This can help ensure that your creative
legacy is protected and managed according to your wishes.

photo of woman writing on tablet computer while using laptop
Photo by Antoni Shkraba on

Plan for Digital Assets
In today’s digital world, it’s important to consider how your digital assets will be
managed after your death. This might include things like social media accounts,
websites, and online storage accounts. Depending on the terms of service for these
accounts, it may be difficult or impossible for your heirs to access or manage them
without proper authorization. One way to plan for your digital assets is to create a digital estate plan. This might involve creating a list of your digital accounts and login information, as well as instructions for how you want those accounts to be managed after your death. You might also consider designating a digital executor who can help manage your digital assets in accordance with your wishes.
Consider the Tax Implications
Another important consideration in estate planning is the tax implications of your
estate. Depending on the size of your estate, there may be federal and/or state
estate taxes that need to be paid. It’s important to work with a qualified estate
planning attorney and/or tax professional to understand the tax implications of your
estate plan, and to develop strategies for minimizing tax liability.

people chatting during evening dinner in backyard
Photo by Askar Abayev on

Communicate Your Wishes Finally, it’s important to communicate your wishes to your loved ones and trusted
advisors.This might involve discussing your estate plan with family members, friends, or business partners, as well as providing copies of important documents like your will or trust. You might also consider designating a trusted individual to serve as the executor of your estate or the trustee of your trust. By communicating your wishes clearly, you can help ensure that your creative legacy is protected and managed in accordance with your desires. This can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones and help ensure that your legacy lives on for future generations.

Marc Guertin is the principal at Marc Guertin, Attorney at Law, LLC in North Haven, CT. Call 203-500-0201 or email to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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