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Stan Lee's estate may not have such a happy ending

Fans of Spider-Man in Virginia are among the many superhero enthusiasts around the world who have been mourning the recent death of Stan Lee. Unfortunately, the last few years of the life of the former head of Marvel Comics were a tangled web of accusations coupled with numerous changes involving relationships with attorneys and business managers. During this time, Lee also lost his wife, was accused of sexually harassing home aides and nurses, and made accusations about thousands of dollars being stolen from his condo.

It's not clear how much estate planning Lee had done prior to his death although similar issues have affected late celebrities such as Aretha Franklin and Prince, both of whom did not have wills. There were also rumors of cognitive decline associated with Lee during his final years along with allegations of elder abuse he made against his own daughter before taking back his statement.

Lee's estate could be further complicated by the fact that numerous documents prepared by different attorneys may be floating around. His past relationships with business managers may also be problematic, especially if some of these individuals come forward and make a claim to a portion of Lee's assets. If there are legal challenges, the related expenses could end up shrinking the size of an estate reported to be worth around $50 million.

Even when iconic superheroes aren't involved, estate planning with the help of a lawyer may be a smart move for anyone wishing to safeguard their legacy and assets. In situations similar to what happened with Stan Lee, a lawyer might have suggested a trust for a grown child to be set up in a way that limited access to assets, especially if there was evidence of financial irresponsibility. An attorney may also help with the preparation of documents that would allow trusted designated parties to make appropriate decisions about health-related and financial matters if an individual is not able to do so.

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