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February 2014

January 2014

Sarah Hershberger Guardianship Case: Exploring Parents' Rights To Make Medical Decisions

To most parents, the question of whether the government should intervene to dictate how a child should be raised is an easy one. Parents, not the court system, should decide what is best for their children -- in the absence, of course, of abuse or neglect. But does that change when a child's life is on the line?    Amish

That is the difficult question facing a court of appeals in Ohio regarding Sarah Hershberger.  What are the constitutional rights of parents to make life-or-death medical decisions for their child?  What if the decision the parents make flies in the face of conventional medicine and, according to traditional doctors, means the child will die in less than a year?

Sarah Hershberger is the eleven-year-old daughter of Andy and Anna Hershberger, who are Amish.  The family lives in an Amish community near a small town outside of Cleveland.  At least, they did until recently.  Because the Ohio court system appointed a guardian over Sarah -- for the sole purpose of making medical decisions for her -- the Hershbergers fled this past October and went into hiding.  Their five other children remain behind, apart from Sarah and their parents.

Continue reading "Sarah Hershberger Guardianship Case: Exploring Parents' Rights To Make Medical Decisions" »


Farrah Fawcett Portrait Trial Ends In Favor Of Ryan O'Neal

Farrah Fawcett‘s estate planning wishes have been at the center of a number of lawsuits, as we describe in this article about Ryan O’Neal.  O’Neal was sued by the University of Texas, which claimed that he wrongfully removed the famed Andy Warhol Farrah Fawcett painting from her home after she died.  O’Neal defended himself, saying that this copy of the painting was his and he had permission to take it back after Fawcett died.   Farrah-Fawcett-by-Andy-Warhol1-300x300

The University of Texas disagreed, suing O’Neal back in 2011.  The University’s lawyers felt that, because Fawcett’s revocable living trust left all of her artwork to the University, it should be the rightful owner of the Farrah Fawcett paining, not O’Neal.  It turns out there were actually two copies of the famed portrait, and the University already received one of them.  But it sued O’Neal for the other one too.

The case proceeded to trial last month, lasting three weeks.  O’Neal called several witnesses, including former friends of Fawcett and her former caregiver, who all testified that the second copy of the painting belonged to O’Neal.  He testified that Warhol gave him the second copy, because he was the one who brokered the deal for the famous portrait to be made in the 1970′s.

Continue reading "Farrah Fawcett Portrait Trial Ends In Favor Of Ryan O'Neal" »


Trial and Heirs Top Tips For The New Year

It's the beginning of the year, which means that we all have well-intended New Year's resolutions.  The diet, the exercise regimen, saving money...and finally doing our estate and financial planning.  The celebrity stories in Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! can help motivate you to actually do your planning in 2014.  Really!   Trial and Heirs Famous Fortune Fights

Here are some of our easy-to-use tips for the new year:

1.  Get your financial affairs organized in 2014.  Create an "asset" list, including the account numbers, names of financial institutions, and related information for your insurance, stocks, bonds, CDs, securities, bank accounts and other investments.

2.  Store your asset list and your estate planning documents in a fireproof box, safe, or safety deposit box.  Remember to make sure that your loved ones can find and access these documents!  We have an Estate Planning Organizer to help you with this.  Just email us at contact@trialandheirs.com if you want to learn more.

3.  Review and update your estate planning documents and your financial plan with your professionals in 2014, especially if you haven't done so in the last few years or if you've experienced any life events, such as the birth of a child or a divorce.

4.  If you have a revocable living trust, work with your estate planning team to ensure that your investments, insurance, and other assets are properly titled into your trust.  If this isn't done, then the trust doesn't do you much good!

5.  Have the conversation with your loved ones about their estate planning.  Remind them how important it is to have power of attorneys, a will, and for most people, a trust.  The celebrity stories in Trial & Heirs are a great way to get this conversation started!

Feel free to share these New Years resolutions with your family members, loved ones, clients and prospects to help motivate them to get their estate planning in order!

By Danielle and Andrew Mayoras, co-authors of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!  For the latest celebrity and high-profile cases, with tips to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your clients, click here to subscribe to The Trial & Heirs Update.  You can “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Google+.

For legal help in Michigan, visit Danielle and Andy's law firm.