smart spending

5 famous family feuds

Courting a supreme case
Courting a supreme case

It's the classic story: Successful man meets younger woman, dies shortly after marrying her and everybody lawyers up.

In 1994, J. Howard Marshall II, a billionaire Texas oilman, married former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith at a drive-in wedding chapel. He was 89 to her 26.

Marshall died the next year, setting up a showdown between his widow and E. Pierce Marshall, who was technically her stepson although nearly 30 years older.

Smith claimed her husband -- nicknamed Paw Paw -- promised her half his estate. Problem: It wasn't in the will. The son appeared to have won. But the widow filed bankruptcy, and was awarded $475 million. That was thrown out by a federal appeals court, which said the bankruptcy court overstepped its authority.

In May 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Smith could pursue her case in federal court. A month later, E. Pierce Marshall died of an infection. Seven months after that, Smith died of a drug overdose.

But the feud continues. In 2010, a federal appeals court ruled Smith's estate deserved none of Paw Paw's money. In January, the Supreme Court heard her estate's appeal. It hasn't ruled.

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