Khloe Kardashian, health care proxy for Lamar Odom?

In September 2009, Lamar Odom married Khloé Kardashian. As is usual with the Kardashian family their wedding was featured on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, a reality show featuring members of the Kardashian family. During the course of their marriage Odom also featured on the show and a spin off program. He became a household name to those unfamiliar with his basketball career.

In December 2012, Kardashian filed for divorce from Odom, both parties signed papers in July 2015 pending final approval from a judge. On October 13, 2015, Odom was hospitalized after being discovered unconscious. He was in a coma and placed on life support. It was reported that Kardashian was making the healthcare decisions on his behalf. In the aftermath of this accident, Odom and Kardashian have decided to call off their divorce.

In the US a wife is the most common person named as a health care proxy to make health care decisions for their spouse in the event that they can no longer make those decisions themselves. If Odom did not change his health care proxy, or the power was drafted so that it did not terminate at the time the divorce papers were filed Kardashian may retain the power, to make any decisions about his care whilst he is unconscious or lacks the capacity to make them himself.

In Australia each State and Territory has provision for people to create an Advance Care Directive (ACD) also referred to as a living will. An Advance Care Directive is a written document enabling a competent adult to nominate the equivalent of a health care proxy, to record preferences for future health and personal care, or both.

In Odoms case athough the divorce hadn’t been approved by the Courts it raises questions regarding an ex spouses right to their ex-spouses estate in the event of their death.

In California, once divorce proceedings are filed the parties are restrained from taking actions during the divorce proceeding altering the designation of beneficiaries and other specified actions therefore their estate passes according to their Will. If a party dies after the dissolution of the marriage transfers to the ex spouse are terminated but not life insurance. It was reported that Kardashian remains the beneficiary of a $10 million life insurance policy in Odom’s name even after their divorce is finalized.

In most jurisdictions in Australia, certain provisions contained in the Will  are revoked by the divorce or annulment of the marriage, and legislation treats the spouse as if they predeceased the Will maker. However in Tasmania and Western Australia the entire Will is revoked by divorce.

The best way to ensure your estate is directed the way that you wish it to be after a divorce is to make a new will. In the same way as marriage and the birth of a child, a relationship break down is a life event that calls for a new Will in order that your estate is directed the way that you wish in the event that you die.

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