Good “Will” Hunting

Following the death of Anna Nicole Smith, rumors have flown about whether she had a Will and, if so, what it said. Reports have been released recently that say that Smith drafted a Will that left her entire estate to her son, Daniel, who died approximately 6 months before Smith. Although the specific contents of the Will have not been released at this time, the Will purportedly contains a provision that would cut out any additional children if she bore additional children after the date that she made the Will.

At this point, it is quite unclear how that provision of the Will may apply. It will depend on whether or not Smith included a contingent provision for who would take her assets in the event that Daniel died before she did.

However, it is clear that the media has enjoyed chewing on this issue. It would be unfortunate to think that Smith’s only child, a small 6 month old baby girl, would be cut out of her entire fortune, after having lost her mother at such a young age.

The question as to the validity of the Will and what will happen with the Anna Nicole Smith estate will have to be resolved in the state in which she resided at the time of her death. That state will have the jurisdiction to determine the outcome of all of her personal property (which includes cash, stocks, investments, etc.—anything other than real estate). Inasmuch as the validity of a Will can vary from state to state, the identity of the state of Smith’s residence at the time of her death may prove to be a key to solving the puzzle that will be involved in this case.

Stay tuned as this case progresses. If Smith’s death is anything like her life, it will be an interesting story.