Harper Lee's Will Clears Up Air Around The Rumors And Brings Clarity To The Placement Of The Late Author's Assets
On 10th March 2018
Harper Lee is probably the only author whose book "To Kill A Mocking Bird" is still able to sell a million copies each year since its publishment in 1960. Covering the story of a black man who was wrongly accused of the crimes which he never did, the book covered the most controversial topic of American history and pointed out the injustice and violence the country has made its own citizens go through. After Miss Lee's death, the privacy of her will has given birth to a lot of conspiracy theories and has created a lot of drama since then. However, after the public speculation of the will, the document has brought clarity to a lot of rumors.
#1 Harper Lee Was A Very Private Person In Her Real Life
The author of one of the most outstanding novels to be written in history that is "To Kill A Mocking Bird," Harper Lee was a very private person in real life. The Pulitzer winner author lived her life away from the eyes of the camera, she had a minimal public appearance and never gave any public interviews. Miss Lee during her life was critical of the popularity of her novel being used as a bargaining chip in making her once peaceful town of Monroeville into a tourist hotspot.
#2 Miss Lee Collected Quite A Fortune From Her Debut Novel
Though "To Kill A Mocking Bird" was Miss Lee's debut novel but throughout her life, the author was bestowed with a number of awards for her remarkable work. Miss Lee was also awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom. Miss Lee lived a well-settled life and had a number of assets in possession.
Reportedly since its publication in 1960, the book sold over 40 million copies worldwide and to this day continues to sell over a million copies a year. According to court documents obtained by the New York Times, this generates a revenue of about $2 million in royalties for Miss Lee, this much amount is enough for a person to develop a fortune but Miss Lee preferred to live her life rather frugally despite her wealthy fortune.
#3 Miss Lee Wrote A Detailed Will Before Her Death
Before her death, Miss Lee wrote a brief will in which she directed each and every detail regarding her assets including her coveted literary papers and possessions, to go into the Mockingbird Trust, a private trust that the acclaimed author had set up in 2011.
The issue of Miss Lee's private trust and her donation of all her valuable literary papers and possessions to the trust made the situation a little suspicious and raised questions and doubts in the literary society. Her longtime lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, had also successfully petitioned the probate court in Monroe County to seal Lee's will, citing privacy reasons.
#4 New York Times Lawsuit Won The Case
It was also stated in the documents that making the will public could create harassment situations for the individual mentioned in it. New York Times lawsuit, claims to have reviewed the documents and argued wills filed in a probate court would fall under public records and Lee's privacy concerns no different to that of any normal citizen.
They won the lawsuit and the documents were opened for public review. The will revealed little, other than that her closest living relatives were a niece and three nephews, who are expected to be the recipients of a portion of her vast estate through the trust. Carter, one of the two trustees of Miss Lee's private trust was also given the power to execute the contents of the will as she saw fit. Though this piece of information was not surprising, it definitely raised more questions and drew scrutiny into the vast influence Carter held over the author.
#5 Confusion And Suspicions Have Always Surrounded Miss Lees Case
So many questions and suspicions have risen because in 2007 Miss Lee suffered from a stroke that was said to have affected her hearing and vision badly. It was also reported that Miss Lee was moved to a living facility and had a poor health condition since then. So it was feared after Miss Lee's death, that the old lady might have been taken advantage of, considering the amount of wealth she held.
After Harper Lee announced to write the sequel of her debut novel "Go Set A Watchman," a number of conspiracy theories were developed that claimed that Miss Lee was coerced to write a second novel as she always firmly said no throughout her life, stating that she would never write the second book. So what probed Miss Lee at the tender age of 55 to write the second book. It raised questions of whether she had somehow been coerced into signing away her intellectual property - which she always took painstaking care to look after - in her vulnerable old age.
#6 It Was Greatly Feared That Carter Took Advantage Of Miss Lee's Vulnerable Age
Though questions have arisen against Carter's intentions numerous times in the past, others are comfortable knowing that it lays at the hands of someone who has always been very protective of Lee and that she will do what she feels was in her client's best wishes. She helps run Mockingbird Company, a non-profit set up shortly before the author's death, and which puts on a dramatization of the novel in Monroeville each year.