Center for Art Law

At the crossroads of visual arts and the law.

A Primer on Artist Trusts: Part 1

About the Event

The estate planning process can seem complicated with the number of options and buzzwords out there for securing a loved one’s legacy–wills, trusts, estates, foundations. With all this floating around, it’s difficult to know what the best choice is for your artist estate. Join the Center for Art Law, with Melissa Passman, Esq., Jamie Johnson Dutterer, and Minelli Manoukian, Esq. as we discuss the basics of artist trusts, the pros and cons, and the real life experience behind making the decision to create one.

This event was made possible with the collaboration of Julia Schwartz, Artist Legacy Foundation; Tracy Bartley, R.B. Kitaj Estate; Farley Gwazda, Gwazda Art Services; and contemporary art curator, writer and researcher Kristina Newhouse.

About Our Speakers

Melissa Passman advises U.S. and non-U.S. taxpayers on a range of tax and estate planning matters. She assists clients with tax and trusts and estates matters, including tax planning on corporate and partnership structures and transactions, implementing estate planning strategies, and planning around alternative assets. Melissa represents clients with federal and state tax matters, including international and domestic income and transfer tax planning for entities and individuals, as well as tax controversy.

Additionally, Melissa has extensive experience in art law matters and has been recognized for her counsel. She draws on her experience with a major international art gallery and other arts institutions to counsel collectors, advisors, galleries, tax-exempt organizations and family offices. Melissa advises these clients on matters around the acquisition, ownership and disposition of artwork, including on the formation of private museums and other charitable vehicles, as well as multijurisdictional tax planning. She also works with artists on developing robust legacy planning structures.

Melissa has additional experience with Portugal’s Golden Visa program and planning for U.S. taxpayers. She also advises on nonprofit activities including tax consequences of charitable donations and philanthropy, formation and management of 501(c)(3) private foundations, formation and compliance of foreign 501(c)(3) social welfare organizations, and review of gift agreements and structuring.

Jamie Johnson directs the William S. Dutterer Trust, which she created in 2018. Prior to that, she had managed Dutterer’s estate for 10 years. She and the Trust have made notable headway in achieving their goal of making Dutterer’s work available to the public at large.

Earlier, Jamie founded Art Connects New York, a not-for-profit organization that permanently placed original artwork in New York City’s social service agencies. She served three years on the Guggenheim Museum’s Education Committee, and worked extensively with artists on legacy planning.She also worked as a strategy consultant for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. From 2001 to 2005 Jamie worked on the recovery of Afghanistan’s education system, focusing specifically on the education of girls and women.

Previously, Jamie worked in the corporate sector for some 30 years, culminating in over 10 years as a vice president of R. R. Donnelley and Sons Company where she led its Financial Printing Unit’s transition from analog to electronic products and services and was a key member of the unit’s business redesign.

Course Materials

Watch the Recording

The Center for Art Law is a New York State non-profit fully qualified under provision 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Center does not provide legal representation. Information available on this website is purely for education purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.
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