Estate and Elder Law

John Dedon on Estate Planning: Kardashian Family Continues to Teach Estate Planning Lessons

My March 30, 2015 Post, discussed how Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the Kardashian family, was confused about the difference between 1) her Will and the role of the Executor, and 2) her Living Will and the role of the agent.  In an episode of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," Kris told her former husband, Bruce Jenner at the time, that he was no longer the "Executor of my living will." Kris said "if someone needs to make a decision like taking me off life support," it should not be a former spouse.

What Kris meant was Bruce was no longer the agent of her Living Will.  (Often called an "Advance Health Care Directive" or "Health Care Power of Attorney" since it encompasses a wide scope of health decisions delegated to an agent beyond just end of life preferences covered in a Living Will.)

Fortunately, Kris is fine.  Sadly, however, Lamar Odom’s hospitalization brought Living Wills and the Kardashian family back in the news.  The media has reported that, because Lamar did not have a Living Will, his estranged wife, Khloe Kardashian, is in charge of his health care.  Lamar and Khloe remain married only because the divorce papers they filed in July have not been processed by the California Courts.

Khloe may or may not be the person Lamar wants to make his health care decisions, but she is the person he is stuck with absent a Living Will.  Lamar should also have a Power of Attorney for financial decisions, and a Will and Revocable Trust to determine where his assets pass upon his death.

If we assume the absence of a Will and Revocable Trust, it is conceivable Khloe would inherit Lamar’s substantial estate as a surviving spouse – probably not Lamar’s intent.

Read more discussion of estate planning topics affecting Virginia residents and U.S. citizens at Dedon on Estate Planning.

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