Casey Kasem’s Daughter Was Granted Conservatorship, But Where is Casey?

When we think of legal guardianship or conservatorship, several scenarios typically come to mind: an elderly parent with dementia; an adult who has been severely injured and can no longer take care of himself; and, increasingly, young adults who are making unsafe, dangerous, or destructive decisions. Today, we will discuss Casey Kasem, an ailing former radio personality whose wife and children are at odds over his care and visitation.

Kamal Amin “Casey” Kasem was born on April 27, 1932, and is famous as a former “American Top 40” countdown show host, personality, actor, voice artist, and comedian. Kasem was married to Linda Myers from 1972 to 1979 and they have three children together: Mike, Julie, and Kerri Kasem. A year after his divorce, Kasem married American actress Jean Kasem (who played “Loretta Tortelli” on TV’s “Cheers”) and they have been married for three decades. They have one child together, Liberty Kasem. Casey’s children from his previous marriage and his brother claim that they don’t have a relationship with Jean Kasem.

In October 2013, Kerri Kasem announced that her father was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and that he is no longer able to speak and is having a hard time walking. At a later date, she clarified that he actually has Lewy Body Dementia, which she says has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, but with a greater impact on cognitive functioning. Casey’s family and friends are very concerned about him, and claim that Jean Kasem has been preventing contact with him.

In hopes of getting the word out and getting through to Jean, Kasem’s family and friends held a protest at the Kasem estate in Holmby Hills. According to Gonzalo Venecia, Casey’s former personal assistant for 24 years who attended the protest, “We fear that he’s been isolated and neglected, and so that’s why we stand here today.” According to Kerri Kasem, “We don’t want to see him go and not say goodbye and not love him and not support him. We don’t know how long he has,” she said.

On October 7, 2013, Julie Kasem and her husband, Dr. Jamil Aboulhosn, filed a conservatorship petition to place Casey Kasem under their care. The petition claims that Julie and her husband have been unable to check on Kasem’s health even though her father signed papers in 2007 giving them the Power of Attorney over his heath care, in the event he was unable to make his own health decisions. The filing contends that they “have been prevented from exercising their duties by Jean Kasem.” The petition also claims that Kasem’s wife has refused to provide the children with the name of their father’s primary care physician. That doctor would be consulted to determine Kasem’s “ability to act on his own behalf,” which is the question that would cause the Health Care Power of Attorney to take effect, it said. The judge dismissed the case, ruling that Kasem was being well cared for by his wife, Jean Kasem. However, the adult children were given visitation rights. Jean Kasem allowed Julie Kasem to visit her father for a while after the settlement was reached, but starting in January 2014, she refused to allow any of his daughters to see him “in violation of the visitation agreement,” Kerri Kasem alleges.

Kerri Kasem went on to file a second petition to help her and her siblings try to gain access to their father and have some oversight over his care. “The fight is not about an inheritance, ”Kerri Kasem said. “My dad told us a long time ago we were not in the will, and we’re OK with that. We’ve known that for years,” she said. “I’ve never asked him for anything, nor have I asked Jean for anything.”

Yesterday, May 12, 2014, Kerri Kasem was granted temporary conservatorship, despite Jean Kasem’s objection. The temporary conservatorship expires June 20, 2014, when a hearing is scheduled on whether to make the conservatorship permanent. The only problem is, Jean Kasem is the only person who knows where her husband Casey is. Jean Kasem’s lawyer, Craig Marcus, said to the judge that Casey Kasem was “taken somewhere out of the country” and that “the judge may not have jurisdiction to issue a temporary conservatorship order,” but the judge rejected the argument. Kerri Kasem’s lawyer, Troy Martin, said he believes his client’s father was moved to an Indian reservation in Washington state. Superior Court Judge Daniel S. Murphy ordered a court investigator and adult protective services to find out where Casey Kasem is being treated and report back to the court. Kerri Kasem said that once they find her father, she hopes that the truth about his care comes out and that she and her siblings can visit with their father and ensure that he is receiving their support and the best possible care.

Do you have an incapacitated family member like Casey Kasem, or just a “borderline” or “unstable” family member such as Amanda Bynes or Lindsay Lohan, and you would like to learn more about your options for Guardianship and Conservatorship? Have you done a Power of Attorney, Advance Medical Directive, Living Trust Estate Planning, or Medicaid Planning, or do you have a loved one who is nearing the need for nursing home care or already receiving nursing home care? Please call us at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for an introductory consultation at The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C.

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