Georgia fans of comics creator Stan Lee may be aware that near the end of his life, there was some controversy around his fortune and in his relationships with others. Lee said that $1.4 million was stolen from his bank accounts, in part to buy a condo. At one point, he made several accusations against his daughter in a notarized document that he later took back. He has also worked with several attorneys and business managers.
One thing people need to think about when they are creating an estate plan is how to design it to protect themselves if they become incapacitated. This includes making sure that the plan has the necessary components to allow the right people to take over as well as understanding what would trigger a declaration of incapacity. As people get older, they may be more vulnerable to outside influences. However, in other situations, family members may perceive that this is happening when it is not.
People do not need to be wealthy or have large estates in order to have these concerns. Most people need basic estate planning documents, and they may want to work with legal and financial professionals. Things they should discuss include how assets will be organized, how professionals will work with executors and others, and whether family members should be involved in conversations.
The answer to the latter question is nearly always yes. At the very least, people who are appointed as executor or given power of attorney should at least have the opportunity to understand the parameters of the role and accept or decline it. People who are creating a trust might also want to appoint family or a friend as trustee, but unlike these other positions, being a trustee may require the legal and financial knowledge that a professional can provide.