American Top 40 host and Scooby Doo voice, Casey Kasem suffered from Parkinson's disease in his later years. This January, he passed away under tragic and somewhat dubious circumstances, which may have been prevented had a conservatorship been established. In 2013, his children filed for a temporary conservatorship when they reportedly had been prevented from seeing him by their stepmother, Jean Kasem. A temporary Conservator of the Person has the authority to make medical decisions for the Conservatee, including appropriate placement.
Concerned about their father's health, they petitioned the court to be temporary conservators, but were met with a denial. CNN published an article on it, and at the time were unable to reach the stepmother, Jean, for comment. A little more than 6 months later, in May of 2013, Jean Kasem abruptly removed Casey from his Santa Monica hospital, along with his surgically implanted feeding tube, and drove him to Seattle. He died there on June 15th of 2014.
The details surrounding his removal from the hospital and subsequent death are suspicious and disheartening, to put it mildly. His daughter is even implicated for having pulled him off the life support to begin with. Then, there's a report of his body being kept in a freezer, amongst other unsettling details. As a person, I feel sickened to read about these alleged abuses, but as an attorney, I wonder - could they have been prevented? If Casey's children and their attorney had come up with a more solid case supporting a conservatorship of the person for Kasem, would he have suffered in this way? Or would he still be alive today? Of course this is a moot point now - but Kerri Kasem and her family are wondering the same thing. They are pursuing this thought by supporting a bill that would allow judges to rule on family visitation instead of applying for a conservatorship. In February of this year, Kerri and her family held a press conference in LA where Kerri stated:
"We've started a foundation, Kasem Cares, and we're behind Assemblyman Mike Gatto's bill AB 2034. It would allow a judge to rule on visitation [when a spouse forbids family members to see a loved one], instead of forcing family members to apply for conservatorship, which could put you in the hole for $300-400,000 and cause delays of up to a year, and by that time your loved one could be dead. It's a gap in the law, and it's going to be filled."
Now, as an Elder Law attorney who specializes in Conservatorships - let me just tell you that she is either really exaggerating, or she has the WORLD's WORST/MOST EXPENSIVE ATTORNEY. If one has a reasonably good case for a conservatorship, a good lawyer can help family members obtain a temporary conservatorship, which can be granted swiftly by the court. A permanent conservatorship, as Kerri is most likely speaking of, does indeed take longer, but by no means should cost 300,000-400,000 dollars. One of the really crazy details of this case is that between Kerri and Jean Kasem, they hired 13 different sets of attorneys. Now what was going on there? Perhaps they're just on a campaign to support the Elder Law Attorneys of the Los Angeles area. That's the most reasonable conclusion I can come to!
Casey Kasem's daughter is now fighting to have Jean put in jail, and to have the case further pursued by the LAPD and FBI. Read more about the Elder Abuse charges, court fee battle, and the case brought by Kerri Casem against Jean Kasem.
If you believe there is Elder Abuse taking place in your family, or a parent may be subject to undue influence, talk to an attorney early and often. At the Law Offices of Matthew B. Talbot, I specialize in Elder Law, Estate Litigation, and Conservatorships and offer a free 30 minute consultation. Call 925-322-1763 and I'll be happy to speak with you.