Imagine being in the middle of a divorce and facing death?
Imagine your soon-to-be ex making decisions about your healthcare or life support?
Lamar Odom is currently in critical condition after being found unresponsive in a legal brothel in Nevada. That is one heckofa compromising situation to end up incapacitated. Nonetheless, Khloe has dropped everything to be by his side at the hospital. There is speculation that Lamar and Khloe may remain legally married so for now, it appears, Khloe remains his legal wife.
What does this mean?
This means that legally, Khloe may have the right and obligation to make monumental health decisions about Lamar’s care, including, but not limited to prolonging his life, donation of organs or other hugely impactful decisions. I have no doubt that Khloe will make the best decisions in Lamar’s best interest, but that is not always the case.
From 1990-2005 the family of Terry Schiavo battled her husband over the right to keep Terry on life support. The struggle between the husband and the parents was national news. Ultimately the decision was made that Terry’s husband had the right to make the decision to remove her feeding tube and after seven years of power struggles, the parents were forced to watch their child die.
Having an advanced directive is a key way to protect your individual wishes about under what circumstances you wish to remain alive. Having a designated plan ensures that your wishes are managed when you can’t speak for yourself and relieves families from the despair of making gut-wrenching decisions that may conflict amongst the key players.
In situations such as pending divorce proceedings, litigants would be well served to have their wills crafted or updated to reflect their wishes at the time of the disillusionment.
Careful considerations should be given to these issues
- Whom you would designate as custodian for minor children if the surviving parent is unfit, unwilling or unable to be a primary caretaker
- Who should make medical decisions on your behalf if you can’t
- Funeral care decisions should they become necessary
- Whom you designate as an executor of your estate
Pre-planning these issues will ensure that your voice is heard no matter your capacity. Failure to do so can cause significant emotional, financial and legal stress on families who will be maxed out already due to the fact you are incapacitated.
No one likes to think about their mortality, especially when they are navigating a divorce
One of the most important elements of a divorce and almost always overlooked is the importance of estate planning. While, the decisions may seem tough, they are vital and protect everyone involved.
Every state has specific protocols for creating an advanced directive and the forms are only valuable if someone knows they exist and where they are. Make certain that each person you designate to make decisions on your behalf has their own certified copy/original and that they fully understand what is expected of them. It is best practice to have a meeting with all parties at the completion of your will/advanced directive to ensure everyone is on the same page. One resource for legal documents can be found here but I would highly recommend you consult an attorney and follow their advice given your specifics.
My heart goes out to Khloe and I have seen enough about her to know she will make the best decisions to honor Lamar despite the circumstances that brought her to Nevada. I can’t say that about some of the clients I have had.
What would your ex do given that sort of power?