Lamar Odom's Medical Debacle Offers Lessons on Estate Planning
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Former basketball star Lamar Odom's health may be turning a corner following a recent episode that rendered him comatose, but there are still important lessons for financial advisers about the importance of regularly monitoring and updating clients' estate planning documents.
Mr. Odom, a 35-year-old athlete and two-time National Basketball Association champion during his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, was found unresponsive after collapsing in a Nevada brothel last week and was duly hospitalized in Las Vegas.
However, it emerged that Mr. Odom's estranged spouse, reality television star Khloé Kardashian, had legal authority to make medical decisions on his behalf. The couple wed in 2009 and signed divorce papers in July, but they haven't been finalized due to a backlog in the Los Angeles court. This means Mr. Odom and Ms. Kardashian are still legally married.
Advisers point out that, although Mr. Odom's situation seems to be improving, his estate-planning blunder is one that could have been easily avoided by having proactively updated important documents once he knew of his impending divorce.
“A divorce is one of those situations where you top-to-bottom are making sure you're looking at everything — decision-making, who's a beneficiary on different accounts, what kind of joint ownership situations are there. All those things have to be addressed and revisited,” said Thomas West, financial adviser at Signature Estate & Investment Advisors.
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