Kris Jenner, the matriarch of the billion dollar Kardashian brand and pop culture icon, needs a better understanding of her estate planning. In Sunday night’s "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," there is poignant moment when she tells her former husband, Bruce Jenner, that he was no longer the "Executor of my living will." Kris said "if someone needs to make a decision like taking me off life support," it should not be a former spouse.
Although this was troubling for Bruce and certainly engrossing drama for Kardashian fans, from an estate planning perspective it illustrated how people are confused on not only why they need estate planning, but the tools necessary to accomplish their objectives. Kris was referring to her "Advance Health Care Directive" or "Health Care Power of Attorney," which typically involves a "living will," wherein an agent is named to handle health care issues during lifetime. On the other hand, an "Executor" is named in a Will (which is not a "living will"), and applies upon death.
Even better than a Will, is a Revocable Trust, where a Trustee can handle a decedent’s affairs free of probate. Thus, everyone should have a financial and health care Power of Attorney where they name a lifetime agent; a Will where they name an Executor upon death; and most often a Revocable Trust with a Trustee to handle assets free of probate.
Besides providing gripping entertainment, the Kardashians and Kris provided a public service to all of us by bringing front and center the importance of estate planning.