Book Review appears in Northwest Prime Time

February 8th, 2011 // 11:04 pm @

…review by Diana Mercedes Howell

The first thing you’ll want to do after reading “The Inventor’s Fortune Up for Grabs” is call your lawyer. You’ll want to know if that will you drew up recently is airtight. Are your heirs really your heirs? Scenes From Childhood (Northwest Prime Time) editor Suzanne Beyer found out the hard way. You can be a legal heir without being entitled to receive any money. When her brilliant Great Uncle Arthur Hadley, drew up his will in 1940, he thought he had sealed all the exits. There was no way he could foresee a Rhode Island Supreme Court decision handed down decades later would trump his will and leave his blood descendents out in the cold.

This is the true story of how co-author Suzanne and ten cousins refused to stand by while the state of Rhode Island awarded their uncle’s legacy to strangers. They had two choices, change the law or get all parties to agree to a settlement. In this complicated case, both options seemed an impossible dream. On one side there is Suzanne’s narrative of her exceptionally level headed and fair-minded family. On the other there is the Byzantine world of litigation. The law governing this case was brutally illogical. It would require a clever and patient attorney sworn to Arthurian ideals to tie down all the conflicting and shifting motives of everyone involved. Attorney and co-author John S. Pfarr accepted the challenge. But would justice be served or did the family invest in a lengthy six year quest only to be denied? The outcome heralds that oft heard phrase: “Get yourself a good lawyer.”


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