The idea behind estate planning is that, through careful consideration, individuals can create legal documents that dictate how their assets will be distributed upon their death. This can be of the utmost importance to those who don't want their assets to pass in accordance with applicable laws. Therefore, if an individual wants his or her real estate to pass to a grandchild, then that provision needs to be included in an estate planning document if he or she does not want a spouse or child to receive it.
Of course, the validity of these estate planning documents is contingent upon a number of factors. One of the most important characteristic is that estate planning documents must be created by an individual who is of sound mind. And, even those who do so with full competency can later find themselves being taken advantage of when they lose their ability to make sound decisions on their own.
This may be the case for comic book super star Stan Lee. Lee, who is now 95, is known for creating such popular comic book heroes such as Spider Man and the Hulk. However, due to his failing vision, hearing, and memory, many feat that the man's estimated $50 million estate may be under attack by those seeking to take advantage of him.
Unfortunately, this is a common issue seen with the elderly. Those who are closest to them and have power over the elderly person can exert their force to cause changes to will and trusts that benefit them. This is unacceptable and illegal, but it can be challenging to prove.
This is why it is important to try to preempt these issues by engaging in sound estate planning to begin with. For example, consolidating accounts may make it easy to keep track of an estate's assets, and a revocable trust with a standby successor trustee may allow an individual to name who will manage trust assets in the event of incapacitation. In other words, there are a number of estate planning tools at one's disposal to ensure that an estate is as fully protected as possible. To learn more about these options and how best to utilize them, individuals should speak to a skilled legal professional.