Harper Lee’s will made public, but not estate details

Associated Press

Monroeville, Ala. – The will of “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee has been made public following a lawsuit by The New York Times, but details on her estate remain a secret.

The Times reports the will unsealed Tuesday shows most of Lee’s assets were transferred into a trust days before her death two years ago in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

But the contents of her estate remain private because trust documents are private.

A probate court sealed the will of the famously private writer following her death, and the newspaper filed suit in 2016 to have the document made public. The suit argued that Lee’s desire for privacy wasn’t sufficient legal reason to keep her will hidden from public view.

Records show the estate recently dropped its opposition to unsealing the will.

The move came as Emory University in Atlanta said separately it had acquired a collection of personal correspondence and memorabilia of Lee, who won the Pulitzer Prize for “Mockingbird” in 1961.

Written over a five-year period ending in 1961, the letters are from Lee to New York architect Harold Caufield and his friends, who included Michael and Joy Brown. The couple assisted Lee for a year while she wrote “Go Set a Watchman,” a precursor to “To Kill a Mockingbird” that wasn’t published until 2015.

The university said it acquired the letters from Paul R. Kennerson, a retired attorney from La Jolla, California. They will become available to the public in April.