The dispute over the estate of the late Anna Nicole Smith's husband has carried on for quite some time, and the Supreme Court has agreed to take another look at the case. The former model's separate estate has been fighting for years to obtain a share of her deceased spouse J. Howard Marshall's fortune. According to CNN, the justices allowed reevaluation on the probate case, and oral arguments will be held next year.
Texas oilman J. Howard Marshall was 89 when he married Smith, who was 26 at the time. The two were married for fourteen months before Marshall died in 1995. The billionaire oilman left almost all his assets and trust to E. Pierce Marshall, his son from a previous marriage, and left nothing to Anna Nicole Smith. She was not given a share of the estate in the will or separate trust.
Anna Nicole Smith later filed a lawsuit claiming her elderly spouse promised to give over $300 million, even though court records reveal she had already collected nearly $7 million in cash and gifts during their marriage. In 2006, Pierce Marshall died and Smith was killed as a result of a drug overdose the following year. Marshall's son left behind a daughter from a later relationship, creating an unusual circumstance of the two estates fighting over the suspended assets of another estate.
The Supreme Court will decide if Smith's estate received a proper hearing in federal courts and will determine whether state probate courts would be the proper venue for hearing this case. One time boyfriend and attorney Howard K. Stern is fighting on behalf of Smith against Elaine Marshall, Pierce Marshall's daughter, in Los Angeles, California. Look through the related resources or speak to a New York estate attorney to better understand how probate works in New York or to learn more about challenging a will.