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Judge rules for Ryan O’Neal in probate dispute

| Dec 24, 2013 | Probate Litigation

New Jersey readers may remember Farrah Fawcett from her days as one of “Charlie’s Angels,” which made her a television icon. After her death, her longtime, on again off again partner, Ryan O’Neal was in possession of one of two paintings of Fawcett done by Andy Warhol. The university that inherited the companion painting done by Warhol initiated a probate dispute against O’Neal claiming it was supposed to inherit both paintings.

The central question in the dispute is who owned the second portrait — O’Neal or Fawcett. O’Neal produced numerous witnesses that stated he owned the portrait. In addition, O’Neal presented evidence of an agreement that both he and Fawcett would receive their own portrait. Even though the university disagreed, the jury ruled that O’Neal is the rightful owner of the painting in his possession.

The jury also ruled that a tablecloth signed by Warhol currently in possession of the University of Texas belonged to both Fawcett and O’Neal. The fate of that item will be decided in Jan. 2014. In the meantime, the university is deciding if an appeal of this recent ruling is appropriate.

When a loved one passes away, certain items become that much more valuable to those that loved them. A New Jersey probate dispute can erupt over a seemingly innocuous item. Even though the painting in this case is valued over $1 million, O’Neal may be more concerned with the sentimental value. It is hoped that family members can work out their differences over a particular item without involving the courts, but sometimes, that just is not possible.

Source: CNN, Ryan O’Neal can keep Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett, jury says, Ann O’Neill, Dec. 20, 2013

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