Estate Planning for Creative Artists

Artists’ estates are unique in the complex intellectual property issues they present.

Sarah has a developed a focus in this area, representing major musicians, actors and other creative artists, and their estates, helping them navigate the complex challenges surrounding the protection, management and distribution of their estate assets, from planning through administration.

She has detailed knowledge of the state and federal laws that govern artists’ assets and their control, valuation, taxation and distribution.

Wills and Trusts

Sarah helps artists draft wills and create trusts, aiding in critical beneficiary designation decisions and the creation of vision statements that lay out in detail how the artists wish their legacies to be managed. When an artist dies intestate, without an estate plan, that legacy is placed in jeopardy.

Asset Inventory

Determining a client’s financial position can be complex, even without intellectual property assets. Sarah helps clients create a complete inventory of copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity and derivative works that is a critical first step in providing an accurate net worth that can be used to make key decisions about tax planning and distribution. She helps artists and their estates exercise termination rights, when appropriate, to recapture valuable copyrights in musical compositions, sound recordings and other creative assets.

Emerging Technology

CGI, Artificial Intelligence and hologram technology is testing the bounds of the right to publicity as musicians, actors and others are being “resurrected” to “perform” works long after their passing. Sarah helps artists protect their legacies and their decendents’ rights to their likenesses in the face of rapidly advancing technology.

Administration

Sarah is fully conversant in helping clients appoint an executor who knows and understands an artist’s talent, expertise and work product, and is knowledgeable in selecting the appropriate method of estate disposition, whether creating a private foundation, a revocable living trust or other vehicles.