Heritage property & art

Forsters has a depth of expertise of the art and antiquities world which allows us to understand the specific requirements that any client operating within it may have. Our Heritage Property and Art group comprises a team of specialist lawyers drawn from across the firm.

This multi-disciplinary approach allows us to tailor our services to the individual client and access a wealth of expertise covering every aspect of the law in relation to cultural assets.   

Owning, inheriting and collecting art works or heritage property is an exciting and pleasurable experience; however, it is also a serious business, often involving high-level investment and bringing with it a responsibility to conserve the works and to preserve them for future generations.  Owners may find themselves facing a range of problems including the complexity of drafting and negotiating sale or loan agreements, the sensitivity of litigation, or the intricate technicality surrounding taxation and succession planning.

We aim to demystify and clarify the issues involved. Our focus is to provide prompt and pragmatic advice on all matters related to fine and decorative arts, antiques and heritage property to a broad range of clients, including artists, art collectors, families and charitable organisations.  

We are uniquely placed to deal comprehensively with the broad spectrum of disputes involving the art industry. Clients include galleries, auction houses and other industry practitioners, as well as estates, trusts, foundations and collectors both in the UK and internationally.

Our gallery, auction house and other industry practitioner clients regularly engage us to deal with disputes concerning terms and conditions and any other day to day operations of their businesses. This includes all forms of dispute as well as artist resale right related matters. The often personal and ongoing relationships within the art industry, together with the extremely sensitive nature of disputes, means we work swiftly, discreetly and cost effectively to find the desired outcome for our clients, utilising all the various dispute resolution tools at our disposal.

We also advise on:

  • taxation and tax planning strategies
  • treatment of art and cultural assets in estate planning, wills and trusts
  • the responsibilities of owners and trustees
  • sale, purchase and loan of art and heritage property
  • advice on selling at auction and on sales or gifts to public institutions
  • art-related intellectual property, including artists' resale rights
  • dispute resolution and litigation
  • the formation and management of charitable art funds
  • import and export
  • corporate structuring of ancillary business operations including catering and trading operations and advising on VAT  

"We are approachable and treat clients and team members with respect. Clients seem to enjoy working with us and come back not only for our expertise but because of the experience they get."  
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