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.
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