Back in the news this week was the seemingly never-ending probate case involving the now deceased model/actress Anna Nicole Smith to that of the also deceased Texas oilman billionaire J. Howard Marshall. The Supreme Court accepted a petition for review brought on behalf of Smith’s estate after the federal appeals court ruled against them on how the estate should be divided.
A little history for those new to the situation: Marshall was married to Smith back in the mid-’90’s for a total of 14 months before he died of natural causes at 90. In his will, the billionaire left the majority of his assets and trust to a son from a previous marriage. The will stipulated Smith was basically to receive nothing. Smith filed a lawsuit claiming Marshall had promised her more than $300 million from the estate. The record shows Smith had received roughly $7 million in assets during the couples 14 month marriage.
Playboy and jeans model Anna Nicole married Marshall in 1994 when she was 26 and he was 89. The couple met in the early 90’s at a strip club where Anna Nicole worked at the time. After Marshall died in ’95, Anna spent the next decade focusing on the legal battle to obtain funds from his estate, essentially abandoning whatever career she had, save for stints as a reality TV actress and diet pill spokesperson.
Fast forward to 2006: Anna Nicole is granted the right by the Supreme Court to continue her legal battle, successfully navigating previous judicial missteps. She personally continued to press her case in both state and federal courts until she died of a drug overdose in 2007, leaving behind a daughter from a recent relationship. Marshall’s son died in 2006, so now there are two estates battling over the frozen assets of a third estate.
In our next post, we’ll discuss the decision currently before the Supreme Court on the matter.
Source: CNN.com “Justices to again review probate dispute by Anna Nicole Smith’s estate” 9/28/10