On Nov. 12, 2018, the legendary comic book creator Stan Lee died of heart and respiratory failure in his sleep at age 95. Lee had amassed a fortune estimated at between $50 and $70 million through the iconic characters he co-created, including Spider-Man, Black Panther, and the X-Men. In his final days, he’d allegedly suffered elder abuse and been financially abused by several people in his inner circle. His probate estate is now very actively involved in pursing more assets.
Microsoft’s recent article, “Here's Who Inherited Stan Lee's Estate After He Died,” explains that Lee's daughter has continued pursuing various legal actions in probate and other courts to get everything.
“I want my museum, I want to do a restaurant — Stan Lee's Super Subs — I want to do a big Spider-Man Stan monument to put my family's ashes somewhere," she told AARP. However, one of those lawsuits against Pow! Entertainment regarding her father's intellectual property was thrown out of court for being "meritless," and Lee was sanctioned $1 million in 2020.
Stan Lee married Joan Boocock in 1947, and their daughter J.C. was born in 1950. Until she died in 2017, Joan kept a steady hand on the rudder of the family's assets, according to AARP The Magazine. But J.C. wasn't very good with money, according to her dad.
He and Joan created a living trust to prevent her from burning through her inheritance before her parents died. The control of Stan Lee's fortune allegedly led to J.C. shouting and physically abusing her elderly father.
In February 2018, Lee filed a notarized declaration with his attorney in which he said his daughter would often ring up credit card charges of $40,000 a month and that when the two disagreed about money, she "typically yells and screams at me and cries hysterically if I do not capitulate.” He worried that "after my death, she will become homeless and destitute" if he changed the living trust stipulations.
The declaration blamed Jerardo "Jerry" Olivarez, Keya Morgan, and J.C.'s attorney, Kirk Schenck, for unduly influencing Stan Lee's daughter to "gain control over my assets, property, and money."
Days later, Lee repudiated the declaration, and he, or someone close to him, fired his attorney. He sued Olivarez and his former attorney right before his death, alleging both men had taken advantage of the 95-year-old for their monetary benefit.
In July 2022, Stan Lee's estate settled the case against Olivarez out of court, and in November 2022, a judge dismissed a criminal case against Morgan after a mistrial. He’d been facing charges related to the alleged theft of about $200,000 from Lee.
Probate can make very messy situations. Even in what may seem like the most straightforward case, probate court can be a frustrating process to navigate. Our Los Angeles probate lawyers can help you through it.
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Reference: Microsoft (June 15, 2023) “Here's Who Inherited Stan Lee's Estate After He Died”
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