Celebrity Estate Disputes from Michael Jackson, Steve McNair to Anna Nicole Smith

In May 2009, a South Carolina judge finally settled the dispute.

Fifty percent of the singer's estate went to a foundation to educate poor students, 25 percent went to his adult children and 25 percent went to Tomi, mother of Brown's young son James Brown II.

According to the AP, income from future royalties and the use of Brown's likeness will be the backbone of the estate's future worth.

Anna Nicole Smith: Baby Battles for Big Bucks

The custody battle over Anna Nicole Smith's daughter Dannielynn that capped months of coverage following her death in 2007, was far from the final or most scandalous chapter in a years-long, multigenerational estate dispute.

In 1994, the then 26-year-old former Playboy Playmate married oil tycoon, J. Howard Marshall II, 89. Marshall died just 14 months after their wedding.

In his will, Marshall named his son E. Pierce Marshall his only heir. However, Smith claimed that Marshall had promised her a stake in his $1.6 billion estate when the couple wed.

In May 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that Smith could pursue a share of the estate in federal court, reversing a prior decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that held the case belonged in state probate court.

But before she could return to court, Smith died Feb. 8, 2007 of a drug overdose. Her passing came just five months after the death of her 20-year-old son and only named heir.

The model-turned-reality star was survived, however, by a then 5-month-old daughter Dannielynn.

In March 2008, Dannielynn was named sole inheritor to Smith's estate with Dannielynn's father, Larry Birkhead, and Smith's longtime lawyer Howard K. Stern named as co-trustees. The toddler could inherit as much as $484 million from Marshall's estate.

With the two original claimants to Marshall's fortune -- Smith and E. Pierce Marshall -- now dead, the fight for the fortune continues with their descendants.

Lawyers for E. Pierce Marshall's estate, managed by his wife, and 2.5-year-old Dannielynn are back in court.

The lawsuit is against the estate of E. Pierce Marshall. Marshall inherited his father's estate in 2001 before he died.

A federal appeals court in Seattle will determine whether the probate court ruling, stating that Smith was not entitled to a portion of the estate, can be thrown out.

Jimi Hendrix: Haze Surrounds Rock Legend's Estate

The Jimi Hendrix estate, valued at over $80 million, has torn his family apart, pitting the guitar legend's half brother against his adopted sister.

Because Hendrix died without a will in 1970, his estate was managed by a California attorney until 1995 when the late musician's father, Al Hendrix, sued for the rights to his son's music.

After Al's death in 2002 control of the estate was largely transferred to Janie Hendrix, his adopted daughter.

Al Hendrix divorced Jimi's mother in the late 1950's, and adopted Janie when he married her mother in 1968.

Jimi's half-brother, Leon, having been left out of the will, sued demanding he be written back into his father's will. He claimed his stepsister manipulated their father to put her in control of "Experience Hendrix," the company founded to license Hendrix memorabilia.

Legal battles ensued, Leon claimed Janie misused the estate, allegedly spending $1.7 million on her corporate credit card. Janie, in turn, accused Leon of drug abuse.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...