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Estate plan issues plague comic book legend Stan Lee

Jun 21, 2018 | Estate Planning

Stan Lee might be most well-known in Florida for creating super heroes like Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk during his time as a powerhouse at Marvel Comics, but his most recent headlines have more to do with his estate than his creative work. Most people in Florida assume that estate planning only deals with issues after a person’s death, but Lee’s recent issues highlight the benefits of also planning for the final stages of life. This includes selecting reliable trustees and caretakers who can manage a person’s financial interests, medical decisions and other important aspects of their estate plan.

Lee’s estate is worth approximately $50 million. A fortune that size plus his business interests require expert financial handling, which many believe Lee is no long capable of making. Over recent years, the health of the 95-year-old comic book creator — including his vision, hearing and judgment — has deteriorated significantly. Prior to her 2017 death, Lee’s late wife was in charge of his estate.

More recently, a man named Keya Morgan has controlled Lee’s estate. The memorabilia collector and dealer allegedly moved into Lee’s inner circle by first befriending the man’s only daughter, J.C. Lee. Morgan apparently used Lee’s age and health issues to influence and isolate him, giving Morgan more of an opportunity to take control of the estate. Morgan was also key in firing people who had worked closely with and cared for Lee for many years, including his daughter.

It is not clear if Lee had any provisions for who should step in as his caretaker in the absence of his wife. Durable powers of attorney for financial and medical decisions can ensure that only trusted individuals that a person has specifically designated will have the ability to make important decisions on the estate holder’s behalf. Including these documents in a Florida person’s estate plan can provide necessary protections to their end-of-life wishes.