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University claims O'Neal took property Fawcett gifted in will

Readers in Miami-Dade, and throughout the nation, are likely aware that when someone dies, part of the estate administration process is the distribution of assets as outlined in their estate plan. Probate issues can arise if it is discovered that assets or property have been taken by someone outside the legal disbursement process.

Actor, Ryan O’Neal, and the University of Texas are reportedly involved in just such an estate property dispute. According to reports, following the death of O’Neal’s long-time love, Farrah Fawcett, in 2009, he went back to her home to retrieve an Andy Warhol painting of the actress. He claims that Warhol himself gave the painting to him as a gift but that Fawcett took it to her home in 1998, the year after they split. In her will, it was reported that Fawcett left all of her artwork to the university. The University of Texas’ trustees have purportedly filed a lawsuit, claiming that the painting was a part of Fawcett’s collection and, as such, should have been transferred to the university after her death, along with her other pieces.

It is unknown to the public at this time whether or not Fawcett’s estate plan included any type of catalog of her artwork, which could show that the painting either did or did not belong to her. There was reportedly another, very similar piece in her collection, which the university does have in its possession.

Regardless of the issue, anyone who is having problems with an estate settlement, or who needs assistance creating a will and estate plan, may find it of benefit to speak with an experienced attorney. A lawyer can answer questions, as well as offer advice based on the specific situation or needs.

Source: New York Post, “Ryan O’Neal battling to keep Warhol painting of Fawcett,” Andy Soltis, Nov. 12, 2013

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