Money Isn’t Always at the Center of Los Angeles Estate Disputes

A lot of wealthy, well-known individuals live in the Los Angeles area. So it is no surprise that a lot of news sources covering estate disputes involve disagreements over an inheritance of some kind. Let’s face it; disputes involving money are the type that catch the attention of readers.

The truth is that estate planning and administration isn’t just about the distribution of assets. Take the case involving the radio host Casey Kasem and his family. This dispute involves concern over whether the court should grant a conservatorship petition over the host who likely suffers from “early onset Parkinson’s dementia” as claimed in the petition.

The conservatorship petition was filed in a Los Angeles court on Monday, Oct. 7 after the host’s current wife denied access to his children. The stepmother has “isolated [him] from his daughters, friends and other family,” claimed the petition.

In a 2007 power of attorney designation, his daughter, Julie Kasem, and her husband were named as those who would have the authority to make health care decisions should he become incapacitated.

The petition states that not only had the family been denied access to their father, but that their stepmother had refused to share the name of the father’s physician in order to determine if capacity is an issue.

Capacity isn’t the only question raised by the dispute. According to the stepmother, new documents were drafted in 2011 that would invalidate the 2007 designation. These documents were submitted to the court during a hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

During the hearing, the judge ruled that there was no “urgent need for a conservatorship.” However, this does not permanently decide the issue, and the judge requested further review of the host’s medical records by an independent doctor. A second hearing has been set for Nov. 19.

The family’s motives in making the request have been questioned in the media after learning that the children weren’t in the will and wouldn’t be receiving an inheritance from their father. That’s old news, according to the kids. “My dad told us a long time ago we were not in the will, and we’re OK with that,” said his daughter.


CNN, “Casey Kasem’s kids take stepmom to court,” Alan Duke, Oct. 8, 2013

USA Today, “Attorney: Casey Kasem receiving adequate care,” Oct. 15, 2013