Many Minnesotans may remember the ongoing saga of the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, a former model and TV personality who died of an overdose some years ago, and the family of her late husband, an oil tycoon. According to some recent reports, the protracted legal battle may have finally come to an end.
The probate litigation began after Anna Nicole and the oil tycoon married; the man, who was almost 90 when he married her, died shortly after the wedding and did not leave any of his hundreds of millions of dollars to his bride. Anna Nicole contested the will, seeking some of her deceased husband's property that the family vowed to keep from her. After Anna Nicole's death, her estate continued the litigation.
After two trips to the United States Supreme Court, it seems that the litigation may be finally winding down, although that is far from certain. Once the dust finally settled with respect to the main issues in the case, Anna Nicole's estate attempted to collect by alleging that her former husband's family deserved sanctions and had committed abuses with regard to discovery. Her estate sought millions in damages plus reimbursement for attorney fees.
The federal court hearing Anna Nicole's suit declined the request for fees and damages, finding the request unjustified. The upshot of the ruling is that Anna Nicole's estate is likely going to have to pay a very large legal bill yet still not collect huge proceeds from the oil tycoon's estate.
Sometimes probate cases get messy and they can take a long time to resolve, especially if they center on a sizable inheritance. However, one of the best ways a Minnesota resident has to prevent a case from getting too expensive or too time-consuming is seeking out the advice of an experienced probate litigation attorney who can evaluate a case and offer several different legal options.
Source: Forbes, "Anna Nicole Smith's estate loses yet another run at the Marshall fortune," Kelly Phillips Erb, Aug. 20, 2014