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Lessons learned from Stan Lee's estate

Stan Lee fans who live in New York may know that the comics creator was involved in some controversy at the end of his life related to his assets. He reported $1.4 million had been stolen from him at one point, and he also had a dispute with his daughter. He signed a notarized document accusing her of befriending men to take advantage of him and later took it back.

It is not yet known what kind of arrangements Lee made in connection with his estate although there are a few potential complications. Older people may sometimes make changes in their estate plans that are challenged by family members who think they were not competent to make the changes. Lee also worked with several different managers and attorneys. If his estate plan is not well-organized, it may be difficult to determine which ones should be involved in it.

Even people with estates that are far less complex than Stan Lee's need an organized estate plan. There are several questions they may want to discuss with an attorney as they are preparing this plan. They may want to talk about what will happen if they are declared incompetent, whether they will need a trust, how their assets will be organized and whether family members should be involved.

Powers of attorneys are documents that can be used to appoint others to take care of a person's finances and health care if they become incapacitated. A trust can be used to keep an estate plan private, to provide for family members who have special needs or to control how distributions are made among other functions. People should at least talk to family members about the roles they will have in the estate plan, and they may want to discuss the plan itself so there is less chance they will misunderstand it.

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