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Artist’s Resale Right after you die

Artist’s Resale Right (ARR) continues to apply for 70 years after an artist dies. By passing on your ARR in your Will, your estate can receive royalty payments after your death.

Planning for ARR in your Will

Always consult a legal professional about writing or making changes to your Will.

ARR applies for an additional 70 years after an artist dies. This is calculated from the end of the calendar year in which the artist died. For example, if the artist died in May 2030, ARR would apply for qualifying sales that take place until 31 December 2100.

Find out more about ARR – read our guide

You should specify a beneficiary for your ARR

ARR is a separate asset from copyright, so you should refer to them both in your Will, even if the beneficiary is the same. Read our article on Copyright after you die.

You can leave your ARR to:

  • a registered charity
  • one or more ‘natural’ person, like a family member or a friend

You cannot leave your ARR to a ‘legal’ person, like a company or corporation.

Why you need to specify a beneficiary for ARR in your Will

Stating in your Will who you want to inherit your ARR means nobody needs to try to interpret what you want to happen when you die.

For example, if you did not specify who should inherit your ARR but you did leave your copyright to a specific beneficiary in your Will, under reasonable interpretation of your intentions, it could be assumed that the same beneficiary inherits your ARR.

But if this is not seen as reasonable to make this assumption considering what else you may have said in your Will, your ARR might be passed to a ‘residuary beneficiary’. This is a person who receives what's left over from an estate after all debts, expenses, and specific bequests have been paid out.

What happens if you do not leave a Will

If you do not leave a Will or testament, in UK law ‘intestacy’ rules are followed to decide who your heirs are. This will also apply to your ARR.

Intestacy rules say that if you live in the UK and do not have a Will, all the assets in your sole name, including Artist's Resale Right, pass to your next of kin. If you have no next of kin, your assets may be inherited by the Crown.

Without a Will you are not in control of what happens to your work and royalties after you die, and your wishes may not be followed which is why it is so important to make a Will and to be quite explicit about your wishes.

Make a plan for your work and legacy

Contact a legal advisor for advice on planning for the end of your life through The Law Society website.

Find a solicitor on The Law Society website


This content is a general guide to ARR after you die. It’s not exhaustive and is not legal advice. We recommend getting specialist advice for your specific circumstances.