A South Florida court has decided to allow Davy Jones’ will and other estate documents to remain confidential and sealed, per requests from the performer’s family. Jones, who died in late February from a heart attack, had been a public figure for more than 40 years, known throughout the world as the face of a band called The Monkees.

The judge’s decision to seal the records is extremely unusual in a state that has such liberal document access laws, according to local legal experts. Jones’ family members may have wanted to maintain the items’ confidentiality, because disclosing information contained in the will could affect the estate’s future earning potential. The family members argued that by allowing the documents to become public record, the estate might suffer from devalued copyrights and royalties. Jones’ public reputation would be subjected to higher scrutiny, which could also damage future profits.

The judge in the case utilized an oft-overlooked statute that allows the judiciary to declare document off-limits to avoid financial injuries to innocent third parties. The will can only be accessed by his four daughters, his widow and a trustee. Jones’ most recent draft of the will was created in 2004, after the birth of his fourth daughter. Experts are uncertain whether the man’s wife of five years, a Telemundo actress, will be included in the distribution.

The file will be held in Martin County, where Jones owned a horse farm.

This case underscores the need for all estate plans to be solidified before an unfortunate or tragic event occurs. Not only was Jones fully prepared to distribute his possessions, his family members also advocated to protect their rights and the integrity of the estate. By using a fully qualified probate attorney to pursue appropriate legal recourse, Jones’ family will likely benefit for generations to come.

Luis E. Barreto