Anna Nicole Smith married billionaire oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall in 1994, despite a 63 year age difference. Marshall passed away the following year, without designating any of his estate to Smith in his will or in any other documentation. Smith claimed Marshall had promised her $300 million and took her claim to the courts.
After an initial lengthy battle between Smith and E. Peirce Marshall, J. Howard Marshall’s son, a California bankruptcy court awarded Smith $475 million from the Marshall estate. However, the legal battles continued with E. Peirce Marshall fighting to prevent Smith from inheriting so much from his father’s estate.
Unfortunately, E. Peirce Marshall died in 2006 at 67 years old, followed eight months later by the shocking death of Smith due to a drug overdose. Five years after their deaths, and sixteen years after the death of J. Howard Marshall, the case has finally been decided through the U.S. Supreme Court. A narrowly-divided court decided 5-4 that the bankruptcy court did not have jurisdiction to essentially try a probate case. Smith’s estate lost its claim to any portion of the Marshall estate, leaving all the funds to the Marshall family.
We will never know the true wishes of J. Howard Marshall in regards to Anna Nicole Smith. Perhaps he did intend for her to have a portion of his estate. It serves as a reminder to plan properly and keep your documents current with the changes in your life.
Why Choose Morris, Hall & Kinghorn:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris, Hall & Kinghorn? First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters. Also, MHK is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones. We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership. If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MHK. Contact us today at 888.804.5340 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.