Hello François, could you introduce yourself and tell us about your profession?

As a lawyer for 28 years (after studying law, notary and taxation), I devote myself exclusively to estate planning consultancy. My expertise covers the fields of civil and tax law, mainly in Belgium, Luxembourg and France.
I also act in other countries when justified by the circumstances of individuals, particularly in the context of the transfer of cultural, real estate and movable assets, including collections, works of art and antiques.

Thank you very much. Now let’s talk about the lecture you’re going to give at our Antiques and Art Fair event. What specific subject will you be talking about?

The title of the talk is “How to integrate your collections, antiques and works of art into successful estate planning”. The talk will begin by highlighting the diversity of situations and possible cases. As each case is unique, we will look at the origins of the objects, not in geographical or artistic terms, but from the point of view of ownership. We will examine how collectors today, in 2024, have come to own their collections, works of art or antiques. We will also explore the multiple purposes, plans and possibilities for disposal, creating a complex picture with multiple entries.

We will divide these situations into two broad categories: acquisition and future transfer, each of which may be free of charge or for consideration. We will explore sub-distinctions such as donation, inheritance, private sale or public sale. In the face of this complexity, one constant remains: the question of the ultimate disposal of works of art or the financial proceeds of their sale. My aim is not to provide in-depth knowledge, but rather to instil reflexes, highlight points to watch out for and emphasise the indicators that will be useful in their own situations or those of their loved ones.

What does this mean in practical terms in terms of what participants can learn from the conference?

Participants will learn how to navigate the diversity of situations, identifying opportunities to facilitate the long-term transfer of a collection, while avoiding potential obstacles and risks. Conflicts can arise, whether between heirs, with third parties such as dealers, insurers, gallery owners, art restorers, or even with the tax authorities of the countries concerned. These conflicts must be anticipated and managed.

Emphasis will be placed on the need to remain vigilant vis-à-vis the tax authorities of the countries of residence of the transferors and transferees, as well as the compliance departments of the receiving banks. The latter play a crucial role in verifying the origin of funds linked to the sale of collections. In short, participants will be armed with practical knowledge and advice on how to prevent conflicts and ensure successful estate planning for their art and antiques collections.