In 2006, Anna Nicole Smith made headlines when she appealed a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The well-known design and later truth tv star made headings when she wed billionaire J. Howard Marshall. Marshall, 62 years older than Smith, was her 2nd husband. Many hypothesized that she wed Marshall exclusively for his considerable estate and wealth.
Representing Anna Nicole Smith was lawyer Howard K. Stern. Stern later made headlines when he became romantically included with his client and was charged but not founded guilty with conspiring to assist aid her drug addiction, which later resulted in her sudden death.
J. Howard Marshall, a Yale law graduate, was the icon of American success. He was an attorney, an oil executive and an entrepreneur who collected an estate worth $1.6 billion at his death. Marshall’s will left Smith nearly nothing and left most of his estate to his son, E. Pierce Marshall. Claiming Marshall promised her half of his estate when he died, Anna Nicole Smith submitted a will contest in a Texas court of probate. Helping her case was Marshall’s other child, J. Howard Marshall III. Seemingly, Marshall III was also disinherited and left out of his will.
Married for only 14 months before Marshall died at age 90, Smith’s case concentrated on a legal objective to invalidate Marshall’s composed will. After reaching the U.S. Supreme Court practically 12 years after Marshall’s death, the highest Court remanded the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 2006, E. Pierce Marshall died at age 67. His partner took over his will object to claim and continued the legal fight until Anna Nicole Smith died in 2007. Over the next numerous years following Smith’s death, the legal battle continued all the way back up to the U.S. Supreme Court. As of 2011, the case was still unresolved.
What can we learn from the epic court battle that outlived the initial individuals? There are several lessons we can all learn, even if we are not the lucky owners of $1.6 billion estates. At the minimum, we need to have a firm understanding of our state’s probate laws.
Although the Smith case included numerous personal bankruptcy filings, an understanding of what our state probate codes overview is very important. There are steps that Iowa homeowners can take to make sure that we lessen the chances for expensive and dragged out probate treatments. Performing a legitimate will and memorializing intent is critical, particularly for octogenarians with sizeable estates.