KunstWorks' Artist's Estate Planning Resources


KunstWorks recommends a selection of recent writing and useful resources on estate planning for artists and their families. Each of these resources offers in-depth knowledge in the field of artist legacy, artist-endowed foundations, and best practices for the care and treatment of artist archives. These resources have been compiled on the KunstWorks' webpage under the main menu's new "Resource" tab, for ease of reference. 

Aspen Insitute Reading Guide: The Artist as Philanthropist
The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., created the reading guide The Artist as Philanthropist as an accessible overview of the two-volume report produced by the Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative's (AEFI) National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations. Aimed at artists interested in creating a foundation, as well as family members assisting them or acting as their beneficiary, the guide answers questions related to the benefits and concerns that artist-led philanthropy may encounter. This reading guide may help you to determine if establishing a foundation is the right path for you.

Pittsburgh Arts Council: A Visual Artist's Guide to Estate Planning
This publication A Visual Artist's Guide to Estate Planning, produced after a 1997 conference co-sponsored by the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation and the Judith Rothschild Foundation, provides a clear breakdown of practical and legal questions for those setting up artist estates. The authors' answers cover issues from the creation of a will and choosing an executor to the costs and tax policy involved in maintaining an estate. The second part of the book takes Robert Mapplethorpe, the Pollack-Krasner Foundation, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., as case studies while explaining some of the thorny issues encountered during the creation of estates, including intellectual property, will clauses, and conflict of interest.

American Photography Archives Group: The Photo Archive Handbook
The American Photography Archives Group's (APAG) The Photo Archive Handbook, compiled by Mary Engel and published earlier this year (2017), illustrates various options for managing artist legacy and enabling the next generation to take on these tasks with ease. Its advice is invaluable, in particular, for those dealing with photographic archives and estates. Among its topics: the creation and placement of an intelligent archive as a legacy, copyright laws in cyberspace, and the management of photo archives.

The Artist Estate: A Handbook for Artists, Executors, and Heirs
Written by Loretta Würtenberger, The Artist Estate: A Handbook for Artists, Executors, and Heirs is a comprehensive and insightful set of recommendations for running an artist estate. Würtenberger lays out legal and financial frameworks and recommended management structures for artist estates, with the goal of enabling estates to develop interest from museums, the market, and the academic realm and transform that interest into a relevant legacy in whichever way best suits an estate's aims.

Art/Archive/Practice: A Graduate Course on Artist Legacy
For the San Francisco Art Institute, KunstWorks' Founder and Principal Alla Efimova taught the collaborate project graduate course "Art/Archive/Practice" during the Fall 2015-Spring 2016. Focused on practical museology for artists, the seminar brought together students and faculty in museum and curatorial studies with fine arts and art history students to engage directly with a group of late-career artists to help document their life's work. The course readings, discussions, and guest lectures covered the major forces—from legal, ethical and financial issues to market history and federal policy—that shaped art institutions and artists' careers in the United States since the 1930s, and offered an overview of key principles in collection management applied to artists' practices and estates. The course Facebook page has been archived as a resource, with details on the course projects on G.H. Rothe, Jill Magid, class exhibition and book release.