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Estate planning can save future anguish

Many fans of Stan Lee in Florida may want to emulate his career in comics and movies, but they may not want to repeat his decisions when it comes to estate planning. The 95-year-old former chairman and publisher of Marvel Comics passed away in early November after a year-long illness. He is survived by his 68-year-old daughter, but it appears that his estate plan is muddled and unclear, if it exists at all. A number of celebrities have passed away without a will in place, leaving their heirs to face ongoing court disputes over their substantial estates.

In Lee's case, he worked with a number of lawyers and financial advisers throughout his life, relationships that sometimes ended poorly. Because of this, he may have one or more older documents stored with a former representative, even if no will was apparently found at the time of his death. Trusts, wills and other estate planning documents can be critical in helping people to pass on their assets quickly and effectively. When these documents aren't in place, a significant amount of money can be lost to ongoing costs and fees.

One problem that many face is that as people age, they may become less able to handle estate planning needs. They may experience a cognitive decline that interferes with their decision-making. This is another reason why making a will while healthy can be important for people's peace of mind and that of their families.

An experienced estate planning lawyer could help people to draft key documents like a will, trusts, and powers of attorney. In addition, an attorney can conduct a periodic review of the plan to ensure that it reflects the client's current family and financial situation.

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