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Lamar Odom and the role of a power of attorney

Quite a few Tennessee readers know the name Lamar Odom. The 35-year-old basketball star is a former Lakers player and earned numerous accolades throughout his career. He has been in the news of late, however, for far less illustrious reasons. After a series of poor decisions, Odom is hospitalized and struggling to achieve some manner of recovery. His situation serves to underscore the importance of estate planning, especially when it comes to designating a medical power of attorney.

Odom is married to reality television personality Khloe Kardashian. The two have been separated for some time, and they actually signed and submitted divorce papers in July. Those papers have not yet been signed off on by the court, however, due to a heavy backlog of cases. This means that for all intents and purposes, the two remain married.

As such, Kardashian is able to direct the course of Odom's medical care while he is unable to do so. While there is no evidence that Kardashian has any ill will toward Odom, few divorcing spouses would want to be in a similar situation. However, without a medical power of attorney in place, that is exactly what could happen.

Spouses who are preparing to divorce should take immediate action to adjust their estate plan. Designating a new medical power of attorney is a great first step. Having this simple to-do item checked off of one's list can make it far easier to rest assured that the proper care would be given if the need should arise. The current scenario concerning Lamar Odom should serve as a cautionary tale for all Tennessee residents.

Source: investmentnews.com, "Lamar Odom's medical debacle offers lessons on estate planning", Greg Lacurci, Oct. 19, 2015

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