Anna Nicole Smith's will creates more legal confusion
Dead son listed as the only heir to her estate
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The question of who will inherit Anna Nicole Smith's estate was thrown into confusion yesterday with the release of a 2001 will in which the former Playboy centerfold said her fortune should be held in trust for her son, who died last year.
The 19-page will did not say how much Smith was worth, so it is still a mystery how much money those battling over her and her baby daughter could get.
The document said Smith's lawyer and boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, should be her executor and hold her estate in trust for her son, Daniel Smith.
But Daniel Smith died in September at age 20 of apparently drug-related causes, days after the birth of the former pinup's daughter, Dannielynn.
And the will explicitly leaves out anything for anyone other than the son.
"I have intentionally omitted to provide for my spouse and other heirs, including future spouses and children and other descendants now living and those hereafter born or adopted," Smith said in the will, which was signed under her legal name, Vickie Lynn Marshall.
Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin ordered the release of the will in the latest round in the tangled legal dispute. The voluptuous blonde died at a Florida hotel Feb. 8 at age 39. The cause of death is under investigation.
A lawyer for Smith's estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, immediately challenged the will. Stephen Tunstall called the document a "phantom will," saying it was not filed in court, so it is not valid.
Chris Boyett, a trust and estate lawyer not connected to the Smith case, said that since Smith's son is dead, the court would probably treat her estate as if she had died without a will, meaning her estate would by law go to her daughter.
"I don't think the result will be that it goes to no one," Boyett said. "I think the courts are going to find a beneficiary, and I think the beneficiary is going to be the minor child."
But Jeff Baskies, another lawyer who is not involved in the case, said that it was unclear who should get Smith's estate and that it would depend on the laws in the location where she claimed residency when she died. Smith had a home in the Bahamas.