Probate disputes over whether a will or trust was valid, or instead was signed at at time when the person was mentally incompetent or subject to undue influence, are common. They're also very emotional and difficult for everyone involved. The Anna Nicole Smith case -- the Granddaddy of all probate disputes -- illustrates this more than any other.
I discussed the case in this article, including how the estate executor/lawyer/former boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, not only lost a request he filed in the federal Court of Appeals on behalf of Smith's Estate, but how he was charged criminally with conspiring to provide Anna Nicole with the prescription drugs that killed her.
In Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights, which I wrote with Danielle Mayoras, we discuss the case at length (along with dozens more) so people can learn from celebrity errors, protect their heirs, and know their legal rights if they find themselves in a family fortune fight.
But a new twist on the case surfaced recently. While this development did not affect the case itself, and turned out to be nothing important in the end, it highlights how difficult these cases can get for those going through them. And yes, not just the rich and famous!