At some point in life, almost everyone hears about the importance of making their end-of-life wishes known to others. While most people think of issues like asset distribution or ventilator support, there are some other issues that you have to think of when you are completing estate planning documents. The case of Casey Kasem highlights the need for estate planning that makes all your final wishes known.
Casey Kasem, the 81-year-old radio legend, is suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease. He is unable to walk and has little ability to speak. His wife has allegedly been keeping his family away from him. As a result, his 38-year-old daughter and her husband have filed for conservatorship of her father.
The petition in the Superior Court alleges that in 2007, the radio legend signed a medical directive that placed her and her husband, both of whom are in the medical field, over his care if he became incapacitated. The lawsuit alleges that his wife has kept them from learning about his condition.
In reply to that petition, his wife claims that he gave his wife power of attorney in 2011. His wife claims that the children are only after his estate, which is estimated at $80 million. The adult children claim they only want to see him because they miss him.
The court ruled in the wife's favor in November. The two sides were ordered to come up with a visitation agreement. Amid some tension and with only two of the three children signing a visitation agreement, one of his sons reports that all three children have finally seen the ailing man for the first time in over a year. Casey Kasem's younger brother, who traveled from Michigan, also got to see him.
This sad case highlights not only the need to make end-of-life plans but also the need to discuss those plans with your entire family. Both sides in this case likely think they know his wishes, but without having the proper documents and discussions, they can't really be sure.
Anyone who wants to take care of estate planning, end-of-life or incapacitation decisions should make sure they fully understand the impact each decision will have on their care.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "The Sad, Strange Family Battle Over Radio Legend Casey Kasem" Hal Espen, Feb. 14, 2014