Estate Planning Like a Kardashian

Kim Kardashian West is the most powerful influencer in the world.

Huh?

I can hear the comments now. I can’t stand her. Why the heck is she famous? I’ve never seen the show.

I’m calling b.s. on the last one.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been on for 15 years. We’ve all had the experiencing of flipping through the channels, pausing on E long enough to be captivated by Kardashian shenanigans.

So why is Kim Kardashian West famous?

Her entry in the world of celebrity began when she was 15 years old tagging along with her dad to work.

And by “work,” I mean being part of the defense team for his pal O.J. Simpson, who in case you were born yesterday, was on trial for murdering his ex-wife and a poor dude who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She and her older sister would sit with their dad in court.

Come on, don’t even pretend you don’t know I am talking about Kourtney.

Kim took her 15 minutes of fame and turned it into Mark Zuckerberg-like success. Her digital empire consists of 200 million followers across her social media channels. To put it into context, a population almost as large as Brazil’s follows this woman every day, multiple times a day.

To quote Tommy Hilfiger, “Every time she wears, posts or talks about a fashion brand, there is an immediate and significant increase in both awareness and sales.”

So what does Kim Kardashian West have to do with estate planning? It turns out in addition to being a social media and fashion influencer, she is also an estate planning influencer.

I recently came across an interview with Kim Kardashian West in Elle where she confirmed that her lawyers included in her living will that should she be unable to do it herself, her hair, makeup and nails should be maintained.

Here’s the exact quote:

“I made a section that if I am so out of it that I can’t even communicate and I’m, like, shitting on myself, I definitely need my hair, my nails and my makeup done,” Kardashian said. “I want to look as good as possible.”

Don’t be too quick to criticize. Language aside, she’s actually making two really good points about estate planning we should all follow.

First, a living will, which provides your loved ones with information on what types of treatment you would or would not like to receive in the event you are incapacitated, can be personalized by you. You don’t need to just follow a statutory form. Include in it what’s really important for you.

For example, in my living will, I have included a statement that in making decisions regarding my care, the moral teachings of the Catholic Church should be followed, and if there is any doubt as to what that would mean in my particular situation, the decision-maker can consult my priest, my bishop, and/or the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Perhaps a little more substantive than Kim’s wishes, but I am not going to begrudge her wanting to look good on the outside even when things are looking terrible on the inside.

In the end, both of our wishes are about dignity and things that are important to us.

Which brings me to the second estate planning lesson we can learn from Kim Kardashian West.

Estate planning is not just about dividing your assets among your relatives and friends. It’s about letting your loved ones know what was really important to you, even if those things don’t have a significant monetary value.

For example, my elderly golden retriever Lady isn’t worth a whole lot. She has a thyroid condition, is almost completely deaf and blind, and some days can barely walk. But she sure is precious to me, and if something were to happen to me and my family, I would want the person dealing with our assets to know how much she meant to me and that I would want her well taken care of.

What do you have that is precious to you but doesn’t have a lot of monetary value? Your digital photos? Your collectibles? Your MP3 files? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Copyright © 2018 by Siobhán Fitzpatrick Kratovil. All Rights Reserved.

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