Trust Helps Preserve Privacy Coveted by Author Harper Lee

The unsealing of Harper Lee’s will this week in Alabama yielded few insights into the life of the beloved author of the American classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Among the most frustrating details to those who had hoped to learn more about the notoriously private author was that she directed the bulk of her assets to a trust she established a few years prior to her 2016 death, says Dallas estate planning attorney Sam Long of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP.

Privacy concerns are among several factors that have increased the use of trusts as a mechanism to transfer property at death,” says Mr. Long, who also serves as an adjunct professor of wills, trusts and estates at UNT-Dallas College of Law. “In most cases, the terms of such a trust, such as the Mockingbird Trust here, and the nature of the assets conveyed to the trust during a person’s lifetime are not public information.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or

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