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Bank teaches heirs about investing in art

According to reports, banks lose around 50 percent of a family's assets when wealth changes hands through the estate process. Much of the loss is due to heirs transferring assets to other institutions, but losses also occur when heirs mismanage wealth that was built by earlier generations. In an attempt to capture the interest of younger generations and help them manage family fortunes, Citibank is pioneering a new client service: education for heirs.

One of the first offerings from the bank is a class on buying art as an investment. Experts have chimed in on the classes, stating that learning about art is an important part of learning to manage wealth for many heirs. Families have been investing in art for centuries as a way to pass wealth on and build legacies, and understanding the true value of art and how to invest in additional pieces can help heirs protect those legacies.

However, experts also point out that a class that lasts a few days can only scratch the surface of a complex topic such as art investment. Heirs are unlikely to make expert decisions after just a few days, and some believe that the little knowledge imparted could make it more likely for heirs to make mistakes.

What is true in the art world is true in the estate planning world. With only a little knowledge regarding estate planning, you can make mistakes that make it harder for heirs to receive and manage your wealth. By working with someone who has education that extends beyond a couple of days, you can help ensure that estate planning and management is handled in the most positive and professional manner.

Source:, "Offering Wealthy Heirs Crash Courses on Art Problematic," David H. Lenok, July 27, 2015

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