Leave It To the Kardashians: Lamar Odom Shows Us That Incapacity Planning Isn’t Just for the Elderly


No one expects or plans to be seriously injured or ill. Lamar Odom probably didn’t plan on going into a coma during his alcohol and herbal sexual enhancement supplement fueled visit to that Nevada brothel, but these things happen. We all do stupid, perhaps life threatening, things from time to time and most of the time we just luck out. YouTube is filled with people risking death and quadriplegia in search of a well documented thrill.But you don’t need to belong to a fight club or jump off cliffs in a flying suit to find yourself seriously injured and unable to speak. All it may take is a bicycle ride and a distracted food truck driver or too many drinks and an uneven staircase for you to land yourself in your local hospital on a respirator.

How do you find power when you find yourself powerless, unconscious and surrounded by people speaking in hushed tones at your hospital bed? By thinking ahead and creating an Advanced Health Care Directive. It will give you power when you are powerless.

If you’re unconscious, unable to communicate, what treatment would you want? Who do you want to speak for you if you can’t speak? With a directive you have the power to spell out what treatment you would want and not want and who should be making decisions for you.

Without such a document a petition could be filed in probate court so it can be determined if you have the capacity to make medical decisions and if not, to designate someone to make those decisions for you. The petition can be filed by a “relative or friend of the patient, or other interested person.”

We strive to try to maintain as much control over our lives as we can. In what could be the most critical moment in your life, when you’re at the crossroads between life and death, would you want your estranged wife Khloe deciding whether or not to “pull the plug”?

If not, do yourself a favor. Execute an Advanced Health Care Directive before that UPS truck with your name on it crosses your path.


About brianychou

Brian Y. Chou is an Associate Attorney at the firm of Barth Calderon LLP and his practice focuses on asset protection, estate planning, and business succession planning. Mr. Chou assists clients in all stages of life, from the young professional couple that is concerned about estate planning for their minor children, to the wealthy real estate investor who wants to insulate himself and his properties from lawsuits, to the successful business owner who is agonizing about how to transition his company to the next generation. Mr. Chou understands that coming to grips with an impending lawsuit and confronting one’s mortality are typically not high on most clients’ list of things to do and his goal is to make the planning as accessible, digestible and (dare we say it?) enjoyable as possible. Mr. Chou seeks to build lifelong relationships with his clients to ensure that as their personal lives and legal situations evolve, their planning continues to accurately reflect their wishes. In addition to working with clients to protect and transition their assets, Mr. Chou actively seeks to be a resource to his clients in all aspects of their lives. He encourages his clients to contact him with all manner of needs, whether it be a plumber to fix a clogged drain, or a qualified accountant to contest an aggressive property tax reassessment or anything in between. An avid public speaker, Mr. Chou has presented to numerous groups all over Southern California, including University of California Irvine, Cal State Long Beach, the Planned Giving Roundtable of Orange County, and the California Society of Tax Consultants. He is also especially proud of passing the California State Bar Certified Specialists Exam for Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law. Mr. Chou has also obtained his Series 7 & Series 63 Securities licenses and is also a licensed life & health insurance agent. For Mr. Chou, establishing a connection with the community is paramount. To this end, he is active in a number of organizations, including the Estate Planning & Trust Council of Long Beach, Provisors, Business Networking International, and Comprehensive Child Development, a non-profit providing early childhood educational programs for low income families in Long Beach. Brian Y. Chou is a native of New Jersey and the son of Chinese immigrants. After high school, he moved out to the west coast to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a degree in economics. Upon the completion of his degree, Brian earned a JD/MBA degree from Pepperdine University. During his time at Pepperdine, he participated in a number of activities. Notably, Brian was a literary citations editor for the Dispute Resolution Law Journal, the President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, the Vice Magister of Phi Delta Phi Honors Fraternity, and a member of the Moot Court Board. He also worked in the Career Development Office at the Pepperdine School of Law and remains involved with the community there. Before establishing his estate planning practice, Brian worked for a law firm in the Inland Empire specializing in insurance defense and construction defect litigation. Prior to that, he clerked at law firms in West Los Angeles where he participated in the practice of Workers Compensation litigation and general corporate law. He is committed to using his broad range of experiences to build relationships and effectively represent his clients in a way that is thoughtful and pleasant for all parties involved. In addition to his professional achievements, Brian can speak Mandarin Chinese and can understand Cantonese. His interests include: surfing, basketball, tennis, jogging, drawing and cooking.
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