There is a television program airing on Oprah Winfrey’s new network called “The Will: Family Secrets Revealed”. The title alone should inspire people to get their estate plans in order and avoid litigation over an estate but if the title doesn’t do it, watching just one show will probably have you picking up the phone to an estate planning attorney.
Airing Personal Details
The show takes public court documents and media reports and pieces together very intimate details from cases which involved claims made against an estate. Many of the programs are about celebrities. Airing the details of the troubled personal lives of celebrities always brings big ratings.
Private Papers Become Public in Court
The interesting, and scary, part of the show is the level of detail courts sometimes need to go into order to decide a case. In some cases parties submit private letters written to lovers in order to support their claims against an estate. Parties submit information regarding the decedent’s prescriptions and diaries and all sorts of intimate writings never intended for public eyes. Once the documents become public court records, the media can access them as well. The writers of this television program use the court documents to retell stories of families we might not otherwise know.
While most of us won’t have the media looking through court documents for details, our friends and relatives are likely to be involved in any litigation regarding the estate and they may see the intimate writings or information never intended for everyone to see.
Getting Legal Help
The best way to avoid estate litigation is to have a solid estate plan. Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you create a plan which protects your assets, saves tax consequences, and protects loved ones. Call us today at 973-841-5111.