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Divorce triggers important estate planning changes

By now, most New York City residents have likely heard about former NBA player Lamar Odom's recent serious health scare. After being found unconscious due to a suspected drug overdose, Odom was rushed to a Nevada hospital where doctors reportedly questioned whether or not he would survive.

As Odom lay in a coma, news outlets reported that his famous ex-wife Khloe Kardashian and members of her family rushed to be by his side. It was during this time, as Odom's very life was in jeopardy, that sources report Kardashian learned that her divorce from Odom was never finalized and that the two were legally still married.

While this news alone was likely shocking enough; it also meant that, as Odom's wife, Kardashian was still legally responsible for making decisions related to his medical care. Thankfully, in recent days CNN reports that Odom's condition appears to have improved as he's regained consciousness and has even been able to verbally communicate. This real-life drama, however, illustrates why in the wake of a major life change like divorce, it's so important to update key estate planning documents.

For anyone who has been divorced, an ex-wife or ex-husband is likely the last person an individual would want making critical life and death healthcare decisions on one's behalf. This is why it's imperative that an individual who plans to divorce takes the time to update estate planning documents as soon as possible.

In addition to a healthcare proxy and living will a soon-to-be divorcee should also make sure to update any beneficiary designations that previously named an ex as well as a will or other estate planning documents.

Source: Wealth Management, "Odom and Kardashian: Why Living Wills Matter: Living wills and other advance directives are very important," David H. Lenok, Oct. 15, 2015

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