The Livens Law Firm

Stan Lee: Estate planning should include protection from abuse

Stan Lee, a respected writer and creator of several iconic comic book characters, was revered by many Texas residents and others around the nation and the world. He recently passed away at the age of 95, with reports stating that he left an estate of over $50 million. Unfortunately, it was suspected that his estate had been targeted by some individuals who allegedly wanted control of his finances. As with many senior citizens, Lee's faculties had become impaired over the years. While his estate planning presumably focused on how his assets would be distributed after his passing, little direction was likely given on how to handle his decision-making if he had become unable to do so.

To avoid situations like this, one should consider reducing the number of accounts where assets are held. It could be confusing for investors of any age to maintain assets at a large number of institutions. Another suggestion is to consider creating a revocable trust to provide safeguards against abuse. A trust of this type can specify how finances would be handled should someone become incapacitated.

If a trust is created, it is critical to select appropriate trustees to manage it. Unfortunately, in some instances, those closest to a person may ultimately be the ones to take advantage of a situation like Lee's. To guard against this, someone can be designated to make changes to the trustees named if wrongdoing is suspected.

Regardless of the amount of assets, an estate plan can be a vital part of an individual's overall financial portfolio. Whether to provide protection against possible impropriety or to establish clear directives on division of assets, a Texas attorney familiar with estate planning laws can help. An experienced lawyer will work with clients to ensure that their wishes are expressly recorded and implemented.

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