LOS ANGELES – Anna Nicole Smith's daughter will inherit her late mother's estate.
A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday not only made 18-month-old Dannielynn Hope the sole heir, but also set up a trust in the girl's name.
Her father, Larry Birkhead, and Smith's executor, Howard K. Stern, will be co-trustees.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell 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 child, 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 the oil fortune of Smith's late second husband, J. Howard Marshall. Smith at one point won a $474 million judgment but it was eventually reduced to zero. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated her claim, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that Marshall didn't include anything for Smith in his will.