The peculiar final months of Casey Kasem’s life was like something out of a 1980s hair band “love gone wrong” ballad. Now, though, there are accusations that he may have been a victim of elder abuse. Casey Kasem’s daughter Kerri Kasem and other family members held a press conference at a courthouse in Los Angeles with a request for the Los Angeles Police Department to arrest Kasem’s widow Jean Kasem. The charges they claim are startling. They say the widow removed Kasem, along with his surgically implanted feeding tube, from a Santa Monica hospital on May 7 and took him to the Seattle area, where he died June 15, 2014. They also claim she then had his body moved out of the country to Montreal and Oslo, where it remained in a frozen state for months until he was buried in an unmarked grave shortly before Christmas. Does this make Casey Kasem a victim of elder abuse?
According to Kerri Kasem’s attorney, Martha Patterson, it’s yes, “If this isn’t a case of elder abuse, I don’t know what is. It’s equivalent to taking a baby out of an incubator.”
Kasem’s daughter wants her stepmother arrested, partly because of what happened (or what didn’t happen) during a 5 day run, “They ran out of food, bought a six-pack of Ensure at a drugstore, poured it into the feeding machine, and jammed it — and they’re saying this woman didn’t kill him? The nurse in the car took pictures of his colostomy bag full of blood. The cops have all the evidence. Belle Chen at the DA office told me she’d love to have a crack at this case. LAPD should be ashamed.”
Yet, the widow, Jean Kasem, is arguing the opposite, stating the death of her husband is due to her stepdaughter’s removal of life support in 2007. But if reports are true, his daughter was following instructions in a healthcare directive, which states that if life support “would result in a mere biological existence, devoid of cognitive function, with no reasonable hope for normal functioning”, then he wanted no part of it. His widow disagrees and instead, accuses the rest of his family of “having blood on their hands”.
Kerri Kasem vehemently disagrees and since the death of her father, has started the Kasem Cares Foundation. She’s also become quite political and supports Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s legislation that allows a judge to determine visitation of loved ones in hospitals when there is a split in family dynamics.
As estate planning lawyers, we know how overwhelming these types of scenarios are. Unfortunately, this is becoming larger than life as it’s now being reported the two women have 13 “sets” of lawyers between them and each has spent more than half a million dollars in legal fees. Added to their battles are the adamant arguments that the other should pay all of the legal costs.
Time will tell just how strong the elder Kasem’s estate planning efforts truly were; one thing is for sure: no one doubts he wouldn’t have wanted it to unfold like this, with family members on opposite ends.
To learn more about estate planning, healthcare directives and guardianships, contact our offices today.