For most residents of Oklahoma, estate matters may not seem as complex or as volatile as those associated with Casey Kasem's estate. The complex estate matters began with a dispute over Kasem's treatment. The 82-year-old radio personality suffered from a number of ailments, including advanced dementia.
The dispute was among Kasem's children and his second wife. According to reports, both the second wife and Kasem's daughter hired attorneys. In the end, Kasem's daughter was named as the temporary conservator, giving her the right to make decisions regarding Kasem's medical treatment.
Kasem's daughter stated that he didn't wish to receive lifesaving measures or life support, though his second wife disagreed. Even after the radio personality passed away on June 15, disputes continued. Kasem's second wife wanted to have his body cremated. His daughter said Kasem's wishes were to be buried at a certain cemetery. The family was in the news when Kasem's body went missing -- speculation was that it was moved to another funeral home or that it had been cremated.
The disputes aren't contained to Kasem's medical treatment and funeral arrangements,though. He leaves behind an estate valuated at $80 million, and his heirs are reportedly embroiled in a battle over how that estate will be handled. The estate includes a trust valued in the millions for Kasem's four children -- three of the children are from his first marriage, and one is from his second.
One lesson from the Kasem story that people of any means and location can take away is that estate planning is essential for making your wishes known. It's not just about setting down asset distribution in a will -- estate documents let you choose guardians or conservators you trust and impart instructions for a time in which you might not be able to make decisions on your own.
Source: Communities Digital News, "Casey Kasem family feud: how to avoid this legal nightmare" Myra Fleischer, Jul. 30, 2014