Should the wills of the British Royal family be kept under wraps? A lawsuit is currently underway in the UK, seeking to unseal the will of Prince Philip, who passed away in April at the age of 99.
The lawsuit isn’t being brought by a potential beneficiary or a creditor. It is being brought by The Guardian, a UK publication, citing “the high court’s failure to properly consider whether the press should be allowed to attend the hearing or make representations constitutes such a serious interference with the principle of open justice that the case should be reheard.”
A hearing was heard in September to allow the will to remain sealed for 90 years, however the hearing was private and the media was not notified or privy to the proceedings. As the Royal Family are funded by taxpayer money, The Guardian insists that the taxpayers are privy to this information. The only people in attendance were a probate attorney representing Prince Philip’s estate and an Attorney General who represented the public.
The UK and the United States have similar probate regulations, where the details of the will are recorded after the end of probate. There is a rare exception to the rule, which allows for certain circumstances, but it is rarely used as the United States does not have private individuals who are funded by taxpayer funds. In the US, high-net-worth individuals, celebrities, politicians and people in the public eye typically use trusts and other estate planning setups to pass down their wealth to their heirs that will allow for maximum privacy.
What are your thoughts on this lawsuit? Should Prince Philip’s will be sealed for 90 years? Does the media have a right to his private finances?
If you would like more information on how to hold real estate that allows for private transfer to heirs, don’t hesitate to reach out to Richard Lombari at (310)903-6509 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to help.