For those of you who are closely following the Anna Nicole Smith story, this article by Professor Joanna Grossman clearly sets out the legal reasoning behind Judge Larry Seidlin’s "odd," "tearfully delivered," but also apparently correct ruling in the Broward County case.
There is also a link to Judge Seidlin’s written and likely tear-stained opinion, in which he notes, among other things, his feeling of wonder that the case ended up in his courtroom. Ultimately, he concludes, there is no real explanation — the "dominoes of the universe" simply fell in such a way that he would get his 15 minutes of weepy fame.
Grossman also explains why the baby gets all of Smith’s estate. The short version — and I should stress that what I knew about wills and trusts was loaded into short-term memory for the sole purpose of taking the bar exam — is that the bequests in Smith’s will (assuming it’s even valid) lapsed because her son was the sole beneficiary, and he was already dead. That means she basically died intestate, and under intestacy statutes the baby is the next-of-kin. Baby don’t have to share with Granny, neither, so there will be one less garish mansion with a huge, dollar-sign shaped pool in Texas for the foreseeable future.
Thus, baby gets the money, and the battle now turns to who gets the baby. That paternity suit is already raging in California court. Hopefully, it will be resolved by the results of the poll on this website, in which I am currently leading the second-place candidate, Superstars of the Mexican Wrestling Federation, by a wide margin, with photographer Larry Birkhead tied for third place with Urkel.