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Estate administration can have far reaching impact in Texas

It's been several years since the headlines in Texas provided heavy coverage of former model Anna Nicole Smith's death and the fate of her estate. Recently, the news broke that Smith's now 6-year-old daughter could soon become an incredibly wealthy little girl. The story behind the breaking news is proof positive of the importance of proper estate administration.

In late May, a California judge finally ended efforts made by Smith's estate to secure a portion of the substantial wealth amassed by J. Howard Marshall II, Anna Nicole Smith's elderly husband who passed away a year into their union. His estimated wealth ranges somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion. The judge's decision also mandated sanctions against Marshall's son, also now deceased, for the use of delaying tactics in his case with Smith.

The judge determined that Pierce's behavior was so blatant and showed such disregard for the justice system that it would be an act of disrespect toward the federal courts to ignore his actions. As such, damages will be procured from his estate and could result in Smith's daughter receiving almost $50 million. The exact figure remains unknown, but it is safe to say the number will amount to a tidy sum for a 6-year-old girl.

It is true that the figures and scenario surrounding Anna Nicole Smith's story are in no way similar to the situations the average Texas resident will face. However, the pure and simple fact that the cases have drawn on for several years after her death is enough to bear witness to the necessity of proper estate planning. None of us know when life will come to an end. However, it remains our responsibility to ensure our loved ones are taken care of. One outstanding method for ensuring a thorough and professional estate administration is to plan in advance to maintain a family's level of peace in the wake of a death.

Source: usmagazine.com, "Anna Nicole Smith's Daughter Dannielynn Birkhead Might Get $49 Million," Fan Winston, May 31, 2013

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