Are you about to purchase a piece of art for a significant amount of money? Whether it's a painting, a sculpture, or something else, adding a new piece to your collection can be an exciting experience. An art collection can be a great way to express yourself, share with others, and even accumulate a little bit of wealth as the pieces grow in value.
While art transactions can be exciting, they can also be complex. The art world is rife with opportunities for fraud, theft, and deals that go bad. Given the amount of money involved and the lack of central oversight by any organization, it's important that you have someone on your side who is knowledgeable and experienced in these transactions. An art lawyer can fill that role. Here are three important reasons to have an art lawyer on your side:
To protect the transfer of title.
When you buy high-priced art, there is a transfer of title, just like there is with a piece of property or a vehicle. The title is your stake to legitimate ownership of the art.
Unfortunately, there can sometimes be complications in the title transfer process. The seller may not have a rightful title. If the art is stolen, the title is invalid, even if you and the seller are unaware that it is stolen. The seller could fail to follow through on the title transfer. These are all possibilities. An art lawyer can check databases to make sure there are no theft claims on the art. They can also enforce the transfer to make sure it happens.
To avoid litigation.
There are issues that can arise after the transfer that can lead to litigation. The most common is that the painting is later ruled to be inauthentic. In theory, you could sue the seller, but that could be lengthy, messy, and costly for both parties. A good art lawyer can spell out mediation rules in the original purchase contract. For example, you and the seller may agree in advance on what the settlement would be or how you will resolve the issue if there are future questions about authenticity.
To establish a legacy.
What do you want to happen with the art after you pass away? Should it go to heirs? Or do you want to loan it out to museums and share the art with the world? An art lawyer can help you establish a trust or foundation that governs the use of the artwork. The trust can even manage the sale of the art in the future. A trust or foundation can be useful but you need to establish it well before you pass away. Otherwise, you'll have no control over the art after you're gone.
Contact art lawyers in your area. They can help you navigate this complex process.