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An Estate Planning Saga – Health Care Directives

Last update on: Aug 10 2020

Celebrities teach the best estate planning lessons. They make a lot of mistakes, and the people around them seem to have extreme reactions to everything. Plus, the details make their way into the media. A recent, tragic example is the last days of Casey Kasem. GQ documents the details. The lessons are that you should have a health care directive and resist the urge to name someone close to you if that person doesn’t have the best judgment or is emotional. When there are conflicts within your family, consider appointing one or more people from outside your family.

But when his illness, diagnosed in 2007, began to erode his faculties, all that he’d built up began to break down, and the mounting rancor within the Kasem family only made his decline sadder and more poignant. As his life moved haltingly toward its conclusion, it was hard not to think about how, for four decades, Kasem had ended every show with the phrase “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” Now he was living another, much bleaker kind of countdown.

After Jean removed Casey from the Santa Monica convalescent hospital, Logan Clarke, the P.I., got a frantic call from Kerri and began the process of tracking Jean down. A few days later, one of Jean’s attorneys reported that the ailing legend was out of the country. That wasn’t true. Jean, it turned out, had driven him to what has to be the last city on earth you’d think to take a dying man: Las Vegas, where the couple, their daughter, and two caregivers occupied three suites at the Vdara Hotel & Spa, just off the Strip. (Later, in court papers, Jean would say that she’d taken Casey on “vacation” to “escape the theatrical antics of Kerri Kasem for a few days and realize some peace and privacy.”) Kasem was not examined by a physician for nearly a week.

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