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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kasem's children obtain conservatorship to try to find their father

Here is a situation that is extremely challenging both for a family and for the legal system that is trying to help them.

Casey Kasem, a legendary American radio personality, is 82 years old now, and suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease. He is unable to speak. There appears to be no doubt of the fact that he can no longer look after himself. His wife, Jean, has been moving him around to various medical facilities and has refused for a long time now to tell his children where he is. She now says that he has been moved out of the country, but won't say where. His children are concerned about his health and his safety, and are alleging that Jean's isolation of their father from them amounts to elder abuse.

A court has now ordered an investigation into Mr. Kasem's whereabouts. To aid in these efforts, one of Mr. Kasem's children has been appointed as a temporary conservator, which will allow access to medical records that previously could not be consulted. A court date has been set for the children to report back to the judge about their findings.

I'll be watching this story because I'll be interested to see how the judge balances the various parties involved. Will the judge find that the top priority is the safety and well-being of Mr. Kasem? If he were a child, that would be the case, but he is an adult. If the judge does find that Mr. Kasem's well-being is paramount, will he find that Mr. Kasem's well-being would be improved by contact with his children, or that Jean has the right to make those decisions herself? Will a court-ordered conservatorship trump a wife's right to look after her husband? If so, what can the court do to compel Jean to divulge her husband's whereabouts? To me, this is a vital issue for the children of aging parents.

Click here to read a story from www.washingtonpost.com that gives quite a bit more detail about the court proceedings and the family.

The attached photo of Mr. Kasem accompanied the article in the Washington Post and is credited to Eric Jamison, File/Associated Press.

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