Smith’s attorney and longtime partner, Howard K. Stern, says Smith wanted to be buried next to her son Daniel, who died in the Bahamas last year. But the reality TV star’s estranged mother, Vergie Arthur, wants her buried in her native Texas.
Stern’s attorneys say Smith bought a plot in the Bahamas, next to the plot where Daniel is buried. He died in September while visiting his mother, who had just had a baby.
Stern filed an emergency petition this week stating that, under Bahamian law, he should have custody of the body because he is the executor of her estate. The executor is authorized to set up and oversee a trust on behalf of Smith’s beneficiaries, and to make investments.
Seidlin on Friday ordered Stern to appear at a Tuesday hearing to take up the burial issue. His lawyer, Krista Barth, argued unsuccessfully to have Stern appear by video phone from the Bahamas, where he is caring for Dannielynn.
A decision about releasing Smith’s body for burial isn’t likely until next week.
Meanwhile, a court-appointed administrator, Shane Kelley, was to interview the parties and recommend to the judge who should receive Smith’s remains.
Seidlin also appointed a guardian, Miami attorney Richard Milstein, to protect Dannielynn’s interests.