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Family legal battles over Casey Kasem continue

Many of our readers recall the bitter dispute between Casey Kasem's wife and his adult children in the year prior to his death. The former American Top 40 host was suffering from Lewy body dementia, among other medical conditions.

Kasem's three oldest children from his first marriage were battling with his wife Jean over their father's care. In 2013, the Kasem children went to court to seek more access to their father and decision-making ability over his health care.

In May 2014, they were granted the right to move him from the Santa Monica nursing home where he'd been living up to Washington State. A judge also ruled that, as outlined in Kasem's 2007 health directive, his daughter Kerri could have more say in his care. A later directive, drawn up in 2011, had given that power to his wife of more than three decades. The following month, the legendary 82-year-old host passed away.

The family's legal battles continued. The following year, the same children who had fought to care for their father as well as their uncle sued Jean Kasem. Although the Los Angeles district attorney's office hadn't found enough evidence to charge Mrs. Kasem with neglect or elder abuse, the Kasems claimed that her neglect had hastened his death. That case is still pendng.

Last month, Jean Kasem filed a lawsuit against the three Kasem siblings and others for wrongful death, fraud and negligence. She accuses them of perpetrating a "homicidal guardianship scam" related to Kasem's treatment after they moved him. She also claims that the elder Kasem children wouldn't allow her or their daughter to be with him at the end.

Kerri Kasem responded to the allegations that they let their father die, saying, "Everything we did was court-ordered….we tried everything we could to save him." She also says they asked both Jean and her daughter to join them at their father's bedside. She asserts that Jean has filed the suit "only to get the media going again."

Jean Kasem is seeking compensation for medical and burial expenses, lost income, her husband's pain and suffering and other costs and damages.

While this is certainly one of the more public family battles we've seen recently over a loved one who can no longer speak for himself, they happen all too often. It's essential to have an experienced California estate planning attorney on your side.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Casey Kasem's widow files wrongful-death lawsuit against his three eldest children," Christie D'Zurilla, June 22, 2017

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