FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — During the first three days of a custody dispute over Anna Nicole Smith’s body, attorneys frequently referred to the former pinup’s will.
But the 2001 document, which was released Friday, leaves more questions than it answers about who will inherit Smith’s potentially huge estate.
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 remains and her baby daughter could get. And while her body underwent embalming Saturday, the will also didn’t mention where Smith wanted to be buried.
It named Smith’s lawyer and boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, as her executor, stipulating that he hold her estate in trust for son Daniel Smith. But her son died last September at age 20 of apparently drug-related causes, days after the birth of the Smith’s daughter, Dannielynn.
And the will explicitly leaves out anything for anyone other than Daniel Smith.
“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 that erupted after the voluptuous blonde died at a Florida hotel Feb. 8 at age 39. The cause of death is under investigation.
Stephen Tunstall, a lawyer for Smith’s estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, had questioned the veracity of the will before its release, calling it a “phantom will,” but did not answer questions about the document as he left court Friday.
Ron Rale, an attorney for Smith who also is representing Stern in his case to prove fatherhood of Dannielynn, said he was aware the will alone wouldn’t win the battle.
“The judge wanted it produced,” he said, “but we won’t depend on it for our case.”
The document was released hours after Seidlin — who is trying to broker a three-way dispute over the body — gave the OK to embalm Smith’s remains.
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Two embalmers started that process Saturday morning at the Broward County medical examiner’s office — after being searched for objects like cameras and signing a confidentiality agreement that stated they would not talk about, write about, photograph or draw the body, said the medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper.
Stern and Arthur are fighting over where Smith should be buried and who will get custody of the baby. Stern, who is listed as the baby’s father on the birth certificate, says Smith wanted to be buried next to her son in the Bahamas. Arthur wants her buried in Smith’s home state of Texas.
A third figure in the dispute, photographer Larry Birkhead, claims to have fathered Dannielynn and won permission to take DNA from Smith’s body in hopes of proving it. It was Birkhead’s DNA request that had held up the embalming.
The will made no mention of Smith’s mother, who the starlet had venomously said she would never speak to again.
The judge ordered Stern, who was in the Bahamas and did not attend Friday’s hearing, to appear in court Tuesday when the case resumes.
Meanwhile, an attorney for a California doctor accused of prescribing methadone to an alias of Anna Nicole Smith while she was pregnant with her daughter said her client gave Smith “sound and appropriate” treatment.
Attorney Ellyn Garofalo said she and her client, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, were confident the California Medical Board would find Kapoor had committed no wrongdoing in his treatment of Smith. The board opened an inquiry Thursday into any possible mistreatment of Smith by Kapoor
This week, TMZ.com published what appeared to be an Aug. 25, 2006, pharmacy receipt for a methadone prescription written by a “Dr. Kapoor, S.” to “Chase, Michelle.” TMZ said “Michelle Chase” was an alias used by Smith. TMZ did not say how the document was obtained.
The state medical board also was looking into whether it is legal to prescribe drugs for someone using an alias.
Smith was the widow of Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, whom she married in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. She had been fighting his family over his estimated half-billion-dollar fortune since his death in 1995.
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