Tags: harper lee | will | unsealed

Harper Lee's Will Unsealed: More Questions Than Answers

Harper Lee's Will Unsealed: More Questions Than Answers

Pulitzer Prize winner and 'To Kill A Mockingbird' author Harper Lee smiles before receiving the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom November 5, 2007 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 February 2018 08:00 AM

Harper Lee's will was unsealed Tuesday, but its content delivered more questions than answers.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning "To Kill a Mockingbird" author's will was unsealed after The New York Times filed a lawsuit seeking to review it, AL.com reported. Lee died two years ago at age 89.

Prior to her death, some 55 years after "Mockingbird's" release in 1960, Lee published a second novel, "Go Set a Watchman."

Lee's longtime attorney Tonja B. Carter was able to get Monroe County Probate Judge Greg Norris to seal the author's will in 2016, arguing Lee's desire for privacy and saying the document's opening could lead to the "potential harassment" of individuals identified in it, according to AL.com.

But the Times pushed back.

"It's a public record, and the press and the public have a right to public records," Archie Reeves, an attorney representing the Times, said.

The will names Carter as its executor and gives her the power to guide Lee's literary legacy and the rest of her assets, which she directed be transferred into a trust formed in 2011, AL.com reported.

According to the Times, "Trust documents are private, so all questions about what will become of her literary papers and who beyond her closest relatives might benefit from her assets, will remain unanswered for now."

"It is not an uncommon will, and it is typically what we term a pour-over will where anything in the estate goes over to the trust and they don’t have to disclose the terms of the trust," Sidney C. Summey, an estate and trusts lawyer in Birmingham, told The New York Times.

"It is done quite often by people of means, people with notoriety and people who just want to be private," Summey said, per the Times.

Lee never married and didn't have any children. Her closest living relatives are a niece and three nephews, who are expected to receive a portion of her estate through the trust, AL.com noted.

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Harper Lee's will was unsealed Tuesday, but its content delivered more questions than answers.
harper lee, will, unsealed
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2018-00-28
Wednesday, 28 February 2018 08:00 AM
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