Anna Nicole's daughter is her sole heir

March 4, 2008 1:15:58 PM PST
Anna Nicole Smith's daughter will inherit the former Playboy model's estate, a judge ruled Tuesday. Eighteen-month-old Dannielynn Hope was named sole heir by Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, who also set up a trust in the girl's name.

Her father, Larry Birkhead, and Smith's executor, Harry K. Stern, will be co-trustees.

Beckloff granted a petition filed by Stern, who wanted to clarify Smith's intentions toward her daughter. Smith drafted a will in 2001 -- five years before the child was born -- that left her estate to her then-only son, Daniel. However, it said the assets in Daniel's trust should be shared equally if she had future children.

Daniel was 20 when he died in 2006, three days after Dannielynn was born.

"We and Mr. Stern always believed that Anna Nicole never intended to disinherit her daughter," Stern's lawyer, Bruce S. Ross, said after the hearing. "I'm pleased to say this chapter in the saga is closed."

Dannielynn could inherit millions of dollars if the estate wins an ongoing court fight over a will by Smith's wealthy second husband, J. Howard Marshall, that left much of his fortune to the model. His relatives have been fighting the will for years.

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