Artistic Plans

Peggy Hollander, Founder & Managing Partner of The Succession Group, helps create and implement sophisticated, custom-tailored planning strategies for art collectors to frame their legacy.
Text by Sandy Lindsey | May 15, 2018 | People

Do you know exactly what will happen to your art collection if you die tonight?” asks Peggy Hollander, Founder & Managing Partner of The Succession Group. It’s a question a surprising number of art collectors and aficionados may not know all the answers to.
Many art collections begin with a single piece that strikes a resonant chord. Soon, however, the fever strikes, and buying accelerates. The casual art buyer turns into a serious art collector with a range of succession planning challenges that are as unique as the works that comprise their collections. “At this point it goes beyond the listing of one’s personal effects,” she says. “Often it represents a lifetime of passion, love, research and acquisition, and may be a substantial portion of a family’s financial networth.”
Just as affluent families rely on a team of professional advisors to plan for the maintenance, accumulation and transfer of traditional assets, she recommends and facilitates building a collaborative team of advisors to create strategies for the collector’s art succession plan. “Every family has its own set of intergenerational dynamics,” she says. “Opening up clear communication with family members and the family’s professional advisors is key to goal-setting and realization of family objectives. It’s not just about the money; it’s the passing of family values.”
Hollander founded The Succession Group due to one of life’s unplanned, unanticipated disaster events, one of her “D” words: a death, disability, divorce, or, as in her case, downsizing. “While I initially lamented the proverbial ‘woe is me’, this negative experience was the impetus for founding The Succession Group,” she says. “I now believe life is a journey that’s not always smooth sailing — it’s full of potholes, quicksand and windy fork-filled roads, which I acknowledge as an education, revolutionary and evolutionary.”
The spark beginning her focus on succession planning for art collectors occurred about 10 years ago when she worked with a client who had an extensive and valuable collection of modern art. “As part of my conversation process, I asked what he was doing with his art collection,” she recalls. “He stated that he figured his kids would just come and take the pieces off the wall — to which I responded, ‘Not exactly!’”
So what should one do to ensure their valuable artworks are passed down properly? “First determine control and decide in what ownership structure you want your art in during your lifetime and plan its successful migration accordingly,” she advises. “Additionally, don’t allow you or your intended recipients to get ‘caught’ by the absence of documentation. There’s no such thing as ‘quietly’ passing valuable art to the next generation. Without the paper trail, receipt, evidence and records, one may burden their heirs with unintended legal and tax consequences.” Finally, she says no plan is static. “Adapt to changes in philosophy with regular review and continuous vigilance,” she says. “It’s essential.”