February 28, 2006

Anna Nicole Smith goes to the Supreme Court.

First, the great picture:



Now, for the substance of the WaPo's report:
The justices are dealing with a technical question: When may federal courts hear claims that involve state probate proceedings? Smith lost in Texas state courts, which found that E. Pierce Marshall was the sole heir to his father's estate....

"Most people will do a double take," said Edward Morrison, a former Supreme Court clerk who specializes in bankruptcy law at Columbia University. "It raises the novelty level and makes a technical issue somewhat more entertaining."
What, you aren't entertained by diversity jurisdiction? Hey, I teach this subject, and, much as I would inject enthusiasm into the topic in class, I admit it's pretty technical. Law aside, I just can't help wanting Anna Nicole to get the money.

UPDATE: Here's a report on the oral argument:
A U.S. bankruptcy judge in California initially awarded Smith $474 million, but that was later reduced to about $90 million. A federal appeals court eventually tossed out the entire award, saying the bankruptcy judge should never have heard the case.

Several justices expressed sharp skepticism that only the Texas state court could settle the dispute over the estate.

"That's not the way our system works," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "I've never heard a state probate court say you cannot bring a claim in another court."

The justices Tuesday seemed especially interested in several details of the dispute: whether documents were tampered with, whether Smith was kept from her husband's bedside as he was dying, and the amount of money she would receive if she were to win the case.

"'I just want some money from this guy.' That's all she's saying," Justice David Souter said. "Just give me the money I would have had."
I love when the justices paraphrase the argument in blunt terms! Anyway, they're only deciding the jurisdiction question, so these intimations about the substantive merits of the case don't mean much. It sounds as though she's going to win on the jurisdiction point, which is about whether a limitation that the Court has read into the diversity jurisdiction statute applies ought also to apply in a bankruptcy jurisdiction case.

73 comments:

Mark Daniels said...

You want Smith to get the money? What are the arguments for and against that happening?

Mark the Pundit said...

Sorry Ann,

I want her to lose. Big time. I never could stand this woman much.

Also - was it really necessary for her to actually go to the court? Seems like a publicity gimmick, if you ask me. Paparazzi at the Supreme Court - UGH!

Goesh said...

What a looker!!

jeff said...

I'm wondering if the WaPo has the wrong question - instead of "when may the federal courts, etc..." it should be "why should the federal courts, etc..."

This is the part that confuses me - why did the 9th Circus (the news reports this morning apparently said a "Federal Court in California") think that they had any right to get in this case in the first place?

stoqboy said...

$1.6 billion could easily be divided among the son and the "wife" so that everyone was "comfortable," but this woman doesn't deserve a penny. She married him but never lived with him, and apparently had other lovers during the marriage. This was gold digging at its lowest, practiced by a woman with no redeeming values. She is pretty hot, though.

Tony "Digger" Lynch said...

Is this a follow-up post that seeks to answer the question "what do men want"?

chuck b. said...

I'm rooting for her too.

The bankruptcy court awarded her $80M, or some such number. Don't know much about bankruptcy, but I'm actually surprised bankruptcy court can do that...I'd have thought, if anything, they'd award enough to settle her debts, and leave her where she stands. It's between state court and bankruptcy court right?

Dave said...

Since she was the wife, if she were to get the money, wouldn't that keep the government's grubby hands off it?

In that case, I hope she wins. The less money the government gets the better.

TWM said...

Hey, she may not have earned half, but she earned something. This old man knew what he was paying for and my guess is he had some fun before he died.

That being said, I can't stand her.

Scott Ferguson said...

Why do I keep mistaking Anna Nicole Smith for Kirstie Alley?

Ann Althouse said...

The thing is, she married the guy and gave him some kind of pleasure. What it was is not for us to know. And there was so much money passed on, with the elderly offspring getting plenty. A small chunk of it went to Anna in this court judgment, and the heirs are greedily trying to take it away from her. The ground for doing that is ONLY about jurisdiction.

Plus, she's pretty.

alkali said...

The thing is, she married the guy and gave him some kind of pleasure. What it was is not for us to know.

At least not before lunch.

palinurus said...

"The thing is, she married the guy and gave him some kind of pleasure."

I'll bet it was "some kind of pleasure."

Truly said...

ANS looks downright demure in that photo. It's progress!

She makes such a spectacle of herself--I'd like to be outraged, but mostly I feel sorry for her.

If she wins, maybe she could invest some of that money in Mexia, her hometown. They could use it.

chuck b. said...

Also, he went looking for her! Do dirt poor Texas strippers have ready access to the world of rich oilmen? He could have married a nice girl if he wanted.

That said, doesn't the statute of frauds (not pertinent in this case I guess) require agreements in consideration of marriage be in writing?

vbspurs said...

Anna Nicole Smith for Kirstie Alley?

Because no matter how thin they get, they're really just two big fat girls inside?

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vbspurs said...

Whoa! I deleted my comment by mistake. That rots.

I had made a very scholarly and serious comment, about Napoleonic Codes and all that crap, to great effect, I thought.

Naturally, I ended it with:

"I say, she performs a lap dance on Alito, and be done with it"

And so she should. Anyone have a fifsky?

Cheers,
Victoria

PatCA said...

"She is pretty hot, though."

Exactly what her deceased husband thought!

I think she deserves the dough.

Wade_Garrett said...

I don't think Anna Nicole Smith is that good-looking; the photo on Althouse's blog is the best she's looked in a long time. I've always thought that her face was too small for the rest of her, and that a lot of guys just can't get over the 'real-life-sized Barbie' aspect of her.

I agree that this man's elderly offspring are just being greedy, and that there's more than enough money to go around. Clearly, their old man married her just so he could brag to his other redneck, viagara-taking oil billionaire friends. Some rich old men buy professional sports teams. Others buy Playboy playmates. Such is life.

But its arrangements like this that make me laugh out loud when I hear conservatives speak of the "sanctity of marriage."

palinurus said...

I don't think conservatives point to "marriages" like Nicole Smith's when they discuss the sanctity of marriage. In fact, that's why most conservatives probably hope she doesn't get the cash: matches between 25 year old gold-diggers and senile octagenarians make a mockery of the genuine commitment that ought to be at the heart of marriage (i.e, marriage, properly understood).

Wade_Garrett said...

Palinurus - That's what I'm saying! Defending efforts to ban gay marriage on the grounds that marriage is sanctified and unchangeable and so forth sounds foolish, when Anna Nicole Smith is marrying a senile octogenarian for $450 million and Liz Taylor is getting 10 divorces and networks are broadcasting shows like "Who wants to marry a millionaire?"

I think conservatives should drop the charage, recognize marriage for what is has become, and allow gay and lesbian couples to join in the benefits of marriage. So many of these gay couples love each other far more than any of these ridiculous marriages that go on in the heterosexual world. I'm not married, but as a straight man I say that allowing gays and lesbians to marry would give me MORE faith in the institution of marriage than I currently have. Why? Because then it might actually be about love, instead of merely a way for crazy straight people to manage their monetary interests.

AJD said...

Pretty? Ha ha.

She has enormous fake breasts and badly-dyed "blonde" hair.

I guess it's the latter that you think is "pretty" eh, Ann?

TWM said...

Terry,

Are you saying all gay marriages would be about love? Please, humans are humans and there would be just as many, if not more, sham marriages for money or status or whatever.

Eli Blake said...

TWM:

There might be some gay marriages that were for money or whatever, but that would only be the same as that there are a few straight marriages that are the same. The vast majority of gay couples (and I have some in my family) love each other and are very committed (the same as the vast majority of straight couples.)

As to Anna Nicole, I agree that she should have the money. If you sign a marriage agreement, then you make certain commitments. And if you make an exception for one person, golddigger or not, then you open the door to numerous other exceptions being made for any number of reasons. I will say though that if Mr. Marshall had indeed written up a statement that she should have some (which she claims that the heirs destroyed) then she was a fool for not getting a copy of it and keeping it in a safe place.

Pogo said...

Re: "This old man knew what he was paying for and my guess is he had some fun before he died."

Maybe. In 1994, when she married J. Howard Marshall he was 89 years old and she was 26. He died the next year.

Attorney Terry Giles argued that Mr. Marshall was suffering from dementia when he met Smith. In fact, Marshall suffered the first of several small strokes in 1982, and "shortly after the stroke, Marshall met stripper Lady Walker and made her his mistress, showering her with expensive gifts before her death during liposuction surgery." It was conjectured that these strokes "transformed him from a frugal and private man into a public laughingstock who spent wildly on strippers." Notably, Pierce Marshall has denied this, and maintained that his father stayed mentally sharp. Michael, the son who did get the money, thought dementia was present.

Among the very old there is often a progressive decline in judgement, even absent obvious signs of dementia. The judgement capacity of the community-dwelling 80-year-old has been compared to that of a sixth grader.

I know legal experts now teach about elder law, and I wonder about the abusers, grifters, and manipulators the subtly impaired elderly attract. I suspect Mr. Howard had dementia, and Ms. Smith was a person of dubious influence over him.

It's hard to feel sorry for a billionaire, and even less for his silver-spooned sons. But imagine this happening to your middle class elderly parents, and they spend or give away their life savings or long term care funds. Suppose they take Mirapex for Parkinson's, and gamble it all away?

Is this a problem, or just some fun before you die?

Eli Blake said...

Like Kirstie Alley?

Actually, I prefer Kirstie Alley. The United States is the only country in the world where people starve to death in a house full of food. I married a woman who weighs more than I do, and I get tired of 'beauty' being defined by women who are only a diet away from death's door. Since when did bony become equated with beauty? I wonder when one of these half naked 80 lb. 'superstars' will be on a TV show and some hunk of a guy will tell her, 'I just love how I can see your ribs through your skin'?

Palladian said...

"Among the very old there is often a progressive decline in judgement, even absent obvious signs of dementia. The judgement capacity of the community-dwelling 80-year-old has been compared to that of a sixth grader."

Paging Justice Stevens!

Ed said...

If Marshall was suffering from dementia, then his oh-so-concerned family should have spoken up when the JP or Pastor or whoever said "speak now or forever hold your peace". If they didn't speak up then, they should just shut up now.

palinurus said...

Terry --

The prevalence of fraudulent marriages and unserious marriage participants does not argue in favor of gay marriage any more than the prevalence of pagans and New Agers argues in favor of the existence of leprechauns.

MadisonMan said...

As someone who is guardian to a person who can't make decisions, this is an interesting topic. If Mr. Marshall were indeed demented, why not have him declared incompetent? I wonder why the son who got the money didn't do that.

My guess would be that the elder Marshall wasn't incompetent, he just wasn't behaving in a way that his son (who seems very money-grubbing to be) approved, frittering away the son's inheritance. And if the son had tried to take steps to have his Dad declared incompetent, he'd have been disinherited for real.

Now, he's trying for an after-death declaration of incompetence. Much safer, as now angry Dad can't disinherit him.

That's my cynical take on it, at least.

Wade_Garrett said...

Palladin - I understand your joke, but I think its a little unfair. Unlike some previous justices, there's no evidence that Justice Stevens' capacity for work has declined, or that he is going senile. Perhaps he should retire anyway, but I don't think its fair to shoo him out the door merely because he's 85. Justice Holmes served until he was ninety.

Art said...

I think it's significant that Marshall's courtship of ANS prior to marriage lasted three years (according to an NPR account this morning) which leads me to believe he or someone around him had time to back out.

I can't speak to the issues of federal vs. state jurisdiction.

And I can't help asking, "This is a good reason for/against cameras in the courtroom." Discuss.

$CAV3NG3R said...

"She married the guy and gave him some kind of pleasure"

It's nice to finally confirm what I've suspected all along i.e. it's not an insult if the price is right.

vbspurs said...

I've been racking my addlepated brain since seeing the photo above, of Anna Nicole Smith.

What Terry said was right -- that's a good photo of a woman whose body and face change according to her weight fluctuations.

However, that photo also reminds me of someone.

It's either what Victoria Beckham would look like if she dyed her hair platinum stinky blonde...

Or what Anna Kournikova would look like 30 years from now...

Cheers,
Victoria

Pogo said...

Re: "If Mr. Marshall were indeed demented, why not have him declared incompetent? I wonder why the son who got the money didn't do that."

Easier said than done. In my work, this is rarely pursued until someone is either severely demented or hurts someone (e.g. driving). As I understand it, competence is presumed for most adults. Proving someone lacks sufficient judgement capacity is difficult. Doing so against their wishes is even harder. Families are oft torn asunder when money is involved. When money and dementia are at issue, watch out.

That's probably a good thing (Frances Farmer would have wished it were true back when, no doubt). But I raise the issue because I have seen elderly folks of very modest means lose lots of money in scams that wouldn't fool a 12-year-old. Is our only response, "that's just too bad"?

I don't pretend to have an answer; it's a conundrum without a clear response to guide you. Just another one of the small hells of aging.

palinurus said...

Re her picture: It is a gem. And whoever advised her to wear black -- total genius!! ("Please! Respect my privacy! I am still in mourning!!")

Fatmouse said...

Smith is, without a doubt, the most successful whore in history.

I don't mean humping a half-dead guy for his money, I mean reaching new heights in Ho Fashion that would make a Tijuana streetwalker jealous.

That reality show of hers was so skin-crawlingly horrid, not only shouldn't get the billions in inheritance, all the money she owns should be taken away so it can't be used for further evil.

brylin said...

Anyone ever had a case where a client wanted to challenge the competency of an elderly rich relative?

Even if the elderly rich person is "not all there" it is very difficult to challenge a person's competency. You can be sure that the best lawyers will be hired to defend that elderly rich person.

And failure in this type of lawsuit means being totally cut off from any inheritance.

What's a lap dance worth these days? In Canada, I'm told they sell for $20 Canadian ($17.60 US). Granted, Anna Nicole is special. But half a billion dollars special?

Come on Ann!

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James B. Shearer said...

I thought a legal wife was (absent a prenuptial agreement or other waiver) always entitled to a share (usually one half) of her husband's estate regardless of his wishes. So was there a prenupt or I am wrong about the law?

AlaskaJack said...

Does the fact that J. Howard Marshall was a former dean at the Yale Law School have a bearing on this matter? Maybe Dean Howard wasn't senile at all. Could it be that he was just getting back at some of his law school colleagues?

Palladian said...

I like this review of "The Anna Nicole Show" where the reviewer refers to her a "mentally ill widow".

I've always though of her as the Dr Jekyll to Courtney Love's Mr Hyde. Or maybe they're both personifications of the undeveloped aspects of the eternal feminine. Maybe we could add them to the Don Knotts seminar.

And Terry, it's Palladian, not Palladin! You must play World of Warcraft ;)

Smilin' Jack said...

I don't know why everyone is assuming this guy was demented. Given a lot of money and not much time, he chose to spend both on a beautiful woman. Seems perfectly rational to me.

Pogo said...

The elderly who suddenly develop marked behavioral changes are frequently diagnosed with alchol abuse, depression, dementia, or some combination thereof.

While past behavior does not predict future behavior, it's a pretty good guide. and when old people start behaving like this, lacking any such history, dementia is a good guess.

This is because the prevalence of dementia in the late 80s-to-early 90s is 30% to 50%. Half. So, a flip of the coin says he's demented right off the bat. Add "new habit of hanging out in strip clubs" and you're even closer to the diagnosis. In dementia, judgement goes first.

Seven Machos said...

There's a story out there somewhere that traces the really sad and disgusting way that Anna Nicole Smith used this guy. I won't dig out it.

Basically, they never had sex; he wasn't able. He couldn't even control his own bladder. There's marrying for money and there's fraudulently obtaining a marriage to get to a dying man's wealth.

And another thing, the federal court did have jurisdiction. Smith will lose. I take wagers, especially from con law profs who pick a side to root for knowing nothing about the merits of the case...

JodyTresidder said...

I couldn't imagine ever adoring anyone who DIDN'T immediately, merrily root for Anna Nicole Smith.

There's no mystery that vast reconcilable differences exist between a rich elderly man and a young assisted blonde. Isn't it sexist finger wagging of the meanest kind to insist only he should benefit from the arrangement - insofar as we can accurately judge what it was?

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pogo said...

Jody sez: "Isn't it sexist finger wagging of the meanest kind to insist only he should benefit from the arrangement..."

Jody presents a true libertarian perspective here, supporting the right of women to become commodified, so long as the price is a fair one.

Similarly, dumping your spouse of 20 years (after the hard work is done) for a younger and prettier model should perhaps be seen from the youthful second wife's perspective, and avoid all that sexist and mean finger-wagging.

JodyTresidder said...

Pogo said: "Jody presents a true libertarian perspective here, supporting the right of women to become commidified, so long as the price is a fair one."

Not quite, Pogo: the right of men and women to commodify each other and - in such cases - for us to flap our gums about the fairness of the mutual arrangement, as far as we can judge it.

Eli Blake said...

Pogo:

What does the argument about a second wife have to do with this? Dr. Marshall was a widower, so he didn't 'dump' anyone for her.

Further, I doubt if he went to the strip clubs with his sixty year old son, so those who argue that his presence there was evidence of dementia ignore the fact that he apparently had the presence of mind to get himself there are back.

I'd say he was enjoying his retirement. And if you can't enjoy your retirement after you're done working, then what point is it to be retired? Not everyone who retires is happy just reading a newspaper in a rocking chair or playing shuffleboard at the senior center.

Palladian: If you think that Justice Stevens should retire at 85, then would you agree that Strom Thurmond stayed in the Senate for about two terms too long?

Actually, I do see a benefit for having so many old supreme court justices. Sooner or later, someone will challenge the laws governing retirement age and restrictions on income once you start taking Social Security, and they will look like hypocrites if they rule against that someone.

knoxgirl said...

And no matter how much weight she loses, her neck is still WAY to thick.

Christopher Althouse said...

I have to side with Kathy Griffin on this issue:

"The thing about Anna Nicole Smith is, you know that old fart she married who kicked the bucket? And then he left her $500 million. I think she earned every penny. You've seen pictures of him, right? Do you want to blow him? Cause I don't. Even if she gave him just one handjob...$500 million. Just give it to her."

Eli Blake said...

Christopher:

Maybe she's INTO ugly and ancient. Prove she isn't.

I also notice that if the justices try to sneak a glance at her, well, most obvious assets, she will send them a clear message that she is a Christian. Isn't that comforting? I just wonder if she'd wear the same crucifix if she were going before a court composed exclusively of Jews, atheists and Muslims?

AllenS said...

Ahem. If Anna Nicole Smith wins this case, I'd like to marry her.

word verification: irgby

The last word her husband muttered.

ChrisO said...

Joe Rogan had a really funny bit where he talked about the fact that Marshall made a billion dollars from scratch, "so don't you think he's a bit crafty?"

"But father, she doesn't love you."

"You think I don't know that? Now wheel me over to the big girl. I'm going to heaven with a smile on my face."

Jennifer said...

Jody presents a true libertarian perspective here, supporting the right of women to become commodified, so long as the price is a fair one.

Pogo, I'm not sure you can fairly claim opposition to the commodification of Anna Nicole Smith. Did you speak out against the marriage? Or do you just have a problem with her collecting her part of the bargain?

Jody, I'm with you. What do we think he married her for? But, she's the one who is crass. Marrying for money, *sniff*.

JimK said...

You know what? If I'm old, rich and alone, I'm gonna get a big ole' gigundic-teated stripper girl to be with me too.

Why shouldn't I? I'm old and dying. Stay out of my business when it happens you nosy bastards.

reader_iam said...

Victoria:

It reminds me of a cross between Victoria Gotti and the picture of a woman on the cover of the video of a movie--the name of which escapes me!

Maddening.

Palladian said...

"Palladian: If you think that Justice Stevens should retire at 85, then would you agree that Strom Thurmond stayed in the Senate for about two terms too long?"

Eli, darling, Thurmond served 8 terms too many.

Honey Badger said...

"Smith is, without a doubt, the most successful whore in history."

I BEG your pardon? Not by a long shot! Georgette Mosbacher is the most successsful whore in history. She married THREE billionaires, founded an international business empire on her own, and wormed her way straight into the heart of American politics and works wonders for the GOP in ways too numerous to mention.

Vicki Lynn isn't fit to shine Georgette's 3-inch stiletto-heeled Christian Louboutins.

Ann Althouse said...

Wow! A lot of comments. Everyone wants to have their say about little Anna. We need to stop and think about what it says about US, that we relish judging this woman. I say back off. Be charitable. Let the woman have her share. It's not like anyone better than her would get it if she did not.

reader_iam said...

Also, there's a bit of a hint of Kim Basinger in her "LA Confidential" persona.

She married him. He clearly aimed to provide for her. She's well within her rights to walk away with at least some of what he intended.

And why shouldn't she got to the Supreme Court? It's sort of implying she should have avoided spectacle by giving up, if that meant she got nothing. Well, greedy son could have avoided the spectacle by abiding by earlier rulings, and he still would have ended up with lots (even most--depending on which ruling).

As far as paparazzi, etc: She didn't hang out chattin' up the media and so forth. The media made the media splash. Nina Totenberg's report on NPR was hilarious on that topic.

I'm no fan of Ms. Smith. But a lot of this whacking at her carries more than a whiff of looking down at "po' trailer trash" with gleeful disdain.

James Lindgren said...

One can get one person's rational view of the "pros and cons" of the relationship between Anna Nicole and J. Howard in the district court opinion:

http://files.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/annanicole/ansmith030702mem.pdf

Also, the district court details repeated fraud by J. Howard's son Pierce, and outrageous attempts to deplete his estate, such as investing heavily in annuities for a sickly 89-year-old man.

Although Anna Nicole doesn't come off too well in the opinion, she comes off better than Pierce does.

James Lindgren said...

In my post above,the link to the district court opinion didn't come through. Try pasting these 3 links together into a single link:

http://files.findlaw.com/
news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs
/annanicole/ansmith030702mem.pdf

Johnny Nucleo said...

Anna Nicole Smith needs psychiatric help.

But in her prime, she was one of the most beautiful women ever to have walked the earth.

The old man paid her a hundred or so million dollars to hang out with him in the days leading up to his death. He was a billionaire.

It was a square deal. They should give her the money.

dvw333 said...

Jeff, the "Ninth Circus" said that the federal courts should not be involved. It was a bankruptcy court that said it had jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit said it does not -- probate is for state courts. Sorry if that doesn't fit your view of the Ninth Circuit.

dick said...

Her photo reminds me of a sexier Carol Lyndley for those who remember her. The acting talent is about the same as well. Carol acted the total innocent in her movies but she was really just a vacant shell as an actress. Anne Nicole Smith reminds me of the same. A facade with not much behind it but a lot on it.

I do think she should get her share of the money. She evidently met some need for the old man or he would never have married her.

Ron said...

Now here's the money shot line from Slate about her appearance before the Supreme Court!

"She has stepped into the only place in America where her breasts have no power."

SWBarns said...

I'll bet Anna has had more work done than Nancy Pelosi.

This reminds me of my favorite (apocryphal?) Winston Churchill story:

Man: Would you sleep with me for $474,000,000?

Woman: Why, yes I would.

Man: How about $1?

Woman: Absolutely not. What kind of lady do you think I am?

Man: We have determined that. Now we are negotiating price.

Cato Younger said...

Ann - She gave him some pleasure and even more pain. It would seem there is ample setoff there. You act like she did not get anything for her role (such as it was). $7MM for 14months seems good enough for me. $90MM is no small chuck of the estate anyway. The tax was around that. Not only are the heirs not taking anything away from her, it is the opposite. She is attempting to take away what they got. She did not get what she wanted in Probate so she tries an end run in B'cy. If SCOTUS decides that's alright, then nobody's estate plan is safe.

Cato Younger said...

Chuck B - Yes, statute of frauds does apply and so does Sec. 59A of the Tx. Prob Code.

Terry - Why exactly are the heirs being greedy? Simply b/c there is money there, she should get any amount she wants? If that's the law, then I hope nobodyt decides to take anything you have.

eli blake - There was no signed marriage contract. Even the attorney who did the research testified so under oath. Also, he was taken by his driver to the strip clubs who suggested it sua sonte, as he testified.

Pogo - Giles claimed Pierce Marshall thought dementia was present. As you noted, he denies this.

Ed - Many people around Mr. Marshall spoke to him about his marriage. There is not sort of "waiver" argument to be made here.

Madisonman - Nobody is claiming Mr. Marshall was incompetent except the son who DID get disinherited.

James B. Shearer - You are wrong about TX law. She is only entitled to her half of the community earned during marriage.

Jodytresidder - I think $7MM is more than enough benefit for 14 months. Mr. Marshall thought so too.

Jennifer - She collected it. Now she wants to renegotiate the contract after the counter-party is dead. Can you say "Dead Man Statute"? I knew you could. :)

Ann - Being cheritable to what? A fraud? She got her share. Now she wants more. That's not charity; it's insanity. A LOT of better people got the money, including many charities. You want to take the money away from legitimate charities to give it to her? Be serious.

Reader_iam - She got exactly what her husband intended. You same argument about perserverence also cuts both ways. Why should Pierce Marshall give up when his father provided for him and documented it? Plus he is abiding by what TX Probate rulings and a jury said.

James Lindgren - Private annuities are valid tax planning techniches as long as you fit the actuarial requirements. Even at 89. The IRS agreed with it and they should know. If you want a real rational view of the relationship, read the Probate judgement. It found there was NO fraud and it did not make disparaging, pulp fiction remarks about either party.

Althousefan - He did not pay her anymore than the $7MM she already got. And nobody is asking for her to give it back.

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