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Stan Lee is often thought of as the father of the modern superhero. There’s good reason for that. Among other things, he’s one of creators of many of Marvel’s most beloved heroes, including Spiderman, Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor.

Maybe that’s why it’s hard to picture Lee as a frail, 95-year-old man who may be the victim of elder abuse at the hands of people eager to take advantage of his name and his fortune — but that may be what is happening behind the scenes.

There have been a lot of questions lately about what’s happening in Lee’s life, fueled by sometimes public social media spats and allegations of everything from theft to forged signatures. Unfortunately, there may be more than one person or group involved.

Lee contacted police toward the end of 2017 regarding $300,000 that an alleged “nonprofit charity” had either scammed from him or blatantly stolen with a forged check. While the dollar amount may be larger than usual, scams using charitable ideals often target the elderly. They appeal to a senior’s desire to do something good for mankind in his or her final years and play on personal sympathies.

Shortly afterwards, Lee’s attorney filed paperwork while Lee was hospitalized alleging that several members of Lee’s inner circle and his own daughter were acting with ill intent toward the comic creator. The attorney claimed to be acting on Lee’s wishes as he proceeded to bar the people named from being involved in Lee’s financial affairs.

The friends named and Lee’s daughter fired back — with Lee’s help. In a video, Lee claimed that the filings were inaccurate and even insulting. He stated that his relationship with his daughter and the others was solid. Lee may have actually signed the papers that his attorney filed — but unwittingly. Lee suffers from a degenerative eye condition that has left him nearly blind. Several lawsuits over the whole mess are now raging.

Issues like these over who has a true power of attorney — and who has manipulated a senior into either signing or agreeing to something that he or she doesn’t really understand — are tremendously common. They occur all over the country, with varying stakes. The more money that’s involved, however, the more likely it is to happen. Good advance estate planning, however, can often reduce the stakes and end up protecting the senior.

Source: Polygon.com, “Stan Lee’s comics legacy is embroiled in accusations, lawsuits and challenges,” Alex Spencer, May 30, 2018