Anna Nicole Smith is one step closer to resting in peace.
Her survivors, however, continued to wage their respective wars Friday, with skirmishes over paternity, next of kin status and Smith's will.
During a hearing Friday morning, Florida Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin signed an order signaling the first signs of closure, requiring Smith's body to be embalmed within 24 hours.
"We're beginning to give her peace," he said.
The procedure is expected to take place at the Broward County Medical Examiner's office, where her remains have been kept under refrigeration—as well as under tight, around-the-clock security from the sheriff's department—since her death eight days ago.
While Seidlin's decision on who will get custody of her body, either her companion, Howard K. Stern, or her mother, Virgie Arthur, will not be made until next week at the earliest, embalming the body will preserve Smith's remains and prohibit further decomposition. Both Stern and Arthur expressed concern about the rate of decay as both wish to have an open casket memorial service.
Attorneys introduced another bombshell during today's session that will no doubt come into play at next week's hearing: Smith's will.
Ron Rale, the attorney who represented Smith in her paternity battle with Larry Birkhead and who now acts as a spokesman for Stern, announced earlier this week that Smith wrote out her last will and testament in 2001, and that it named two executors. Stern was named the primary executor and Rale himself the secondary executor. Rale mentioned several times in court, though, that Stern may step down from his position in order to ease the document's execution.
A copy of the will, obtained by E! News, was given to Seidlen Friday and entered as an exhibit in the case, though lawyers for both sides requested that its contents not be made public.
However, as part of Seidlen's "open court" policy, the will has been released.
[View Anna Nicole's will and all the latest legal documents as a PDF file.]
"I don't want any secrets here," the judge said.
Per the six-year-old document, which obviously makes no mention of five-month-old daughter Dannielynn, Smith declared that Stern be named guardian of son Daniel and hold all property of her estate in trust for her son, who was the sole beneficiary. The 20-year-old Daniel died in September, just three days after Dannielynn's birth.
The will was signed by two witnesses, James Khavarian and Kimberly Walther, Smith's former personal assistant.
It's unclear what effect, if any, the document will have in future proceedings, as it is grossly out of date—and synch—with the recent events of Smith's life. The will has no mention of where she wanted to be buried.
As for Arthur, her attorney Stephen Tunstall has already questioned the validity of the "phantom will," claiming that since the document was never filed in court, it should not be considered valid.
The contents of the will were first hinted at Thursday night when Rale appeared on Larry King Live.
"Larry, I would like to reveal it on your show," he said. "Another little tidbit. I think everybody will see that Howard [K.] Stern is not a beneficiary of that will."
When asked by King if he was certain of that fact, Rale replied, "without a doubt."
Rale was joined on the show by Kirsta Barth, the attorney representing Stern, and while both have been making the most of their media rounds, at least one lawyer has, for now, bowed out of the interview circuit.
"I believe this is a time for the attorneys to work," Debra Opri, who is representing Birkhead in his paternity suit, said in a statement Thursday. "I believe this is not a time for photo ops. After the courts issue their rulings, there will be plenty of time to discuss the issues. For now, please pray for Dannielynn, as we are in the fight of our lives."
And that fight just got yet another player.
Five men—Birkhead, Stern, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, Smith's chef-turned-bodyguard Alex Denk and Smith's late husband, J. Howard Marshall II—have so far been mentioned as possible fathers of the little girl.
Stern is listed as the father on Dannielynn's birth certificate. Birkhead filed a claim shortly after Dannielynn's birth seeking genetic testing to of the infant, Smith and Stern to confirm the status. On Thursday, Seidlin had a sample taken of Smith's DNA to help resolve the issue; hours later von Anhalt filed his own legal papers. Denk has only suggested he might be the father in various interviews, while Smith's estranged sister has floated the theory that the former TrimSpa spokesmodel used the frozen sperm of late husband Marshall to become pregnant.
Now there's a new contender.
Mark "Hollywood" Hatten, a current inmate at Pleasant Valley State Prison, sent a handwritten letter to both Extra and TMZ alleging that he may be the father of Dannielynn.
Hatten, who had a brief fling with Smith years ago, claimed that in 2000 he "willfully gave a sperm sample" to Smith, "which she gave to a doctor for future use."
"Anna Nicole playfully said, 'Congratulations Mr. Hollywood, yew [sic] just made a deposite [sic] in the Anna Nicole sperm bank,' " he wrote.
Hatten is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for beating up one of Smith's neighbors. He was also accused of stalking Smith shortly after they broke up.
As Smith's lone surviving offspring, Dannielynn would appear to be in line to receive the bulk of Smith's estate, including any inheritance from Marshall's contested oil fortune.
Meanwhile, the legal drama over Smith's remains will continue on Tuesday with an evidentiary hearing. Testimony is expected from several key figures, including Stern, who will testify via telephone from the Bahamas, where he remains with Dannielynn.
Finally, custody of some unseen footage of Smith is apparently up for grabs.
Documentary producer Ashley Wells Lewis has gathered together more than three hours of never before seen film of the former reality TV star and is shopping around an edited, 80-minute version to broadcast and cable networks.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the footage was shot in May 1993 and features Smith discussing, among other topics, son Daniel and future husband Marshall.
E! Online Photo Gallery: Anna Nicole's Life in Pictures