art collection displayed on wallAs a collector of valuable art, you have assets that require special consideration when creating your Estate Plan. At the very least, you need to make sure that the value of your collection is appreciated, legally documented, and protected. Ideally, you have a plan in place that tells the world who should get these pieces and how they should be handled after you are gone.

At Ross & Shoalmire, PLLC, we understand that some clients have unique and special Estate Planning needs. We will advise you of your options for addressing your valuable collection and help you create a plan that accomplishes your goals and protects your interests as you look forward.

What Texas Art Collectors Need to Know About Estate Planning

Art collectors often spend a lifetime curating valuable and cherished collections. When it comes to estate planning, the careful consideration of your art assets is essential to ensure that your collection remains a source of pride and joy for generations to come. Before deciding how you want your Estate Plan to handle your collection, consider the following.

Appraisal and Valuation

Get a professional appraisal to determine the current market value of your art pieces. This valuation serves as a basis for tax planning and distribution strategies. You should also create a comprehensive catalog and documentation of your collection, including provenance, appraisals, and any historical information.

Tax Implications

Understand the potential tax liabilities associated with your art collection, including estate taxes, gift taxes, and capital gains taxes. Art can be a valuable asset, and tax planning is crucial to minimize the financial burden on your heirs.

Heirs' Interests

Consider your heirs' interests and abilities to manage, protect, and appreciate the art. Think about the impact of dividing your collection among multiple heirs or the potential for conflicts.

Once you have evaluated these factors, you can make some decisions about what you want to do with the pieces in your collection.

Options for Handling Valuable Art Collections

A professional art adviser will be an important resource for you as you make decisions about what you want to do with your collection. Some of those decisions will require the assistance of people in the art world, while others fall to your Estate Planning attorney. Some of your options include the following.

Gifting During Your Lifetime

If you choose to give the artwork to family members or friends, be aware that you can only give a certain amount of art to each individual heir tax-free each year. You can also use your lifetime gift tax exemption to transfer valuable art pieces to heirs or charitable organizations without incurring gift tax.

Donating Art to Museums or Nonprofits

You might choose to donate art to museums, galleries, or nonprofits and receive a tax deduction based on the appraised value, or establish a charitable remainder trust that allows you to donate art and receive an income stream while benefiting a charity.

Family Limited Partnerships or LLCs

To keep a valuable collection in the family, you might want to set up a family limited partnership or LLC. These entities enable you to retain control over the art while transferring ownership to family members. It can also provide asset protection.


Creating an art trust that specifies how the collection should be managed, displayed, or sold after your passing is a good way to keep control of the collection now while also planning for the future. You could also establish a dynasty trust in Texas to provide for the continued care and distribution of your art collection over multiple generations.

Estate Liquidation

If your heirs do not wish to keep the collection, you can specify in your Estate Plan that the art collection should be sold, with the proceeds distributed to your beneficiaries. Having the collection appraised regularly will ensure that the art will be sold for what it is worth at the time of your death.

Don’t Forget to Protect Your Art Collection!

Art collections are unique and valuable assets. Proper estate planning ensures that these assets retain their value and significance for generations to come. By carefully considering valuation, tax implications, and the interests of heirs, art collectors can develop a comprehensive estate plan that aligns with their vision for their art legacy. Whether you choose to gift, donate, or use trusts and entities, thoughtful planning allows your art to continue enriching the lives of others in the future.

Ben King
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Ben King helps clients in TX and AR with estate planning, asset protection, probate, and medicaid planning.