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Lamar Odom's situation teaches estate planning lessons

Many New Jersey readers are familiar with former NBA star Lamar Odom. The 35-year-old athlete has made recent headlines not for his role on the court but, instead, over a series of questionable decisions that have left him in dire medical straits. While Odom has a good chance of recovering, his current situation can provide an important estate planning lesson.

Odom is married to reality television star Khloe Kardashian, although the two have signed and submitted divorce papers. Those papers have not yet been finalized, however, due to a backlog in the courts. This means that as things currently stand, they remain a married couple. This also means that Khloe Kardashian has the right to make medical decisions on Odom's behalf.

In this case, there is nothing to suggest that Kardashian has anything other than Odom's best interests at heart. That said, very few people would welcome the thought of their soon-to-be ex-spouses having the authority to direct the courses of their medical care. In fact, for some, that is the stuff of nightmares. Without the proper paperwork in place, however, that is exactly what could occur.

New Jersey residents who are preparing to divorce should consider altering their estate planning documents well before their divorces are made final. This begins with drafting new medical directives, including a health care power of attorney. The scenario currently surrounding Lamar Odom and his family is a perfect example of the fact that no one knows when one might need these important documents.

Source: investmentnews.com, "Lamar Odom's medical debacle offers lessons on estate planning", Greg Iacurci, Oct. 19, 2015

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