by Mike Kraus
Reprinted with permission from a recent edition of Mike's e-newsletter | Copyright 2020
Your collection of art is a part of you. Personally selected pieces for your home and office. Works that you found visiting a gallery on vacation. A painting you commissioned to celebrate a special moment. The creation your grandmother hung in a prominent space in her home. And taking care of your art is taking care of your legacy.
Are your pieces protected right now? Homeowner's insurance often excludes artwork from your policy. Check with your agent. They may offer special coverage or be able to direct you to a fine art insurer that specializes in your current needs.
But, where do you want your art collection to be in the future? Your pieces should be a part of your estate planning and here are some options:
1) Individuals: Entire collection to one person or one specific piece to one specific person. Or any combination in between.
2) Individual Shares To An LLC: Create a corporation as owners of artwork and make your chosen heirs managers. This avoids the jealousy with the proceeds could be distributed evenly. The collection could continue to be maintained and used for investment or revenue generation.
3) Donate To Museum Or Other Institution: Contact recipient organization before donating to make sure your wishes are followed. Will it become part of their permanent collection or immediately sold at auction? Will your pieces be displayed or placed into storage? Are you donating individual pieces or the whole collection? Have any and all conditions put in an agreement and include it with your will. Remember, if you don't agree on the conditions there are plenty of other museums, foundations, schools, galleries, agencies, and workshops that would be honored to host your collection.
4) Your Own Museum: You may have a large enough collection to start your own museum. This is how many institutions got their start. Talk with your estate planning attorney about how to organize, manage, and endow this new entity.
Do you know what you have? Taking an inventory of your collection is important. A simple spreadsheet can go a long way if it includes: artist's name, creation date, serial number, title, medium, origin country, size, invoice, and photo of piece. This will help you understand what you have, your insurance company, your heirs, and executor of your will. And, as always, discuss the consequences of your donation with your tax advisor.
About Mike Kraus
Mike Kraus was born on the industrial shoreline of Muskegon, Michigan. After earning his Fine Arts Degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he attended Grand Valley State University for his graduate degree. From there, he gained varied experiences from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Hauenstein Center For Presidential Studies, Lollypop Farm Humane Society, and the Children's Memorial Foundation. And every place he worked, he had his sketchbook with him and found ways to be actively creative. In 2014, Kraus became a full-time artist by establishing Mike Kraus Art. Since then, he has sold hundreds of paintings that are displayed in nearly every state and dozens of countries. Currently, Kraus lives in Rochester, New York with his beautiful wife and goofy dog.
Header image © Roy Sowers 1999
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