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Speculation on writer Harper Lee's estate plan

Nevada fans of author Harper Lee may wonder who might inherit her estate following her recent death. It is not known what the estate is worth, but in 2009, according to paperwork from one of those lawsuits, in a six-month period, she made $1.7 million. Her second book was expected to make $40 million in sales.

Lee had little family. Her parents and siblings are long dead and she never married or had children, but she does have a nephew. Some speculate that she established a trust instead of a will because she was famous for her insistence on privacy. She might also have written a will that relied primarily on a trust.

A will cannot be submitted to probate court for at least five days. Experts think it is unlikely that she left no estate plan behind at all because both her father and her sister were attorneys.

If a person dies without leaving an estate plan behind, then the state distributes the person's assets according to state law. Therefore, it is important for people to create an estate plan even if they have few assets. An estate plan can range from the simple to the complex based on the size of the estate. Part of estate planning involves selecting a power of attorney that selects someone to handle a person's financial affairs if that person suffers an incapacity and follows instructions for medical care using a health care power of attorney. A person can discuss their particular situation and goals with a lawyer who may be able to suggest the best vehicles through which to achieve those aims.

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