Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 14, 2015 – The importance of having a living will was revealed when former NBA star Lamar Odom was hospitalized, and it was reported that his wife, Khloe Kardashian, from whom he is estranged, still has power over his health care decisions.
Although divorce papers were signed in July, they are considered to be married because the California Courts have not yet processed the divorce papers.
This situation is not preferred because it is unlikely that Lamar wished to have Kardashian be the person in charge of making decisions concerning his health care. However, without a living will, she is the only person who can make such decisions for him. It is also advisable that Lamar have a Power of Attorney for Health Care so that an agent of his own choosing can make health care decisions in the event that he is incapacitated, and unable to make such decisions for himself.
In California, the Power of Attorney for Health Care includes a living will, which sets forth a person’s wishes regarding end-of-life decisions.
“A living will, which is also referred to as an advanced health care directive, is a vital legal document that should reflect one’s preferences in the event one cannot give instructions regarding what, if any, life-saving treatments one would like to have,” said prominent Virginia estate planning attorney Lisa McDevitt. “I would also advise divorcing couples to make certain that their important documents are in order and that they have an estate plan in place that sets forth their wishes concerning the beneficiary of their estate.”
It is also recommended that Lamar have a Power of Attorney to make decisions regarding his financial affairs, as well as a Will and Revocable Trust to decide where his assets will be transferred upon his demise. Without a Will and Revocable Trust, it is likely that Khloe will be the heir of Lamar’s considerable estate. But this is unlikely to be what Lamar intended. Once they are legally divorced, Khloe will no longer have the power to make health care decisions on his behalf because under California law, that power will be revoked and transferred to successor agents, examples of whom are children and friends.
When going through a divorce, it is imperative that one be proactive about updating crucial documents, especially those that stipulate who will make decisions on one’s behalf in case one becomes incapacitated. It is also important to scrutinize all accounts, including those that are jointly owned, and to know who the beneficiaries are on each account.
Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181