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Important Lessons from Casey Kasem’s End of Life Story

John Foxx

In one way or another, we all grew up with Casey Kasem. Whether it was through his “AT 40″ or his voicing of Shaggy Rogers in “Scooby Doo”, we knew and loved Casey.

With his passing, so closed the sad chapter in his life: family infighting that went public.

Let’s be honest. Family fights happen, many times, when a person passes. Most often, it’s about possessions but sometimes it happens when the family member is coming to the end of life.

In Casey Kasem’s case, the fight was over the radio legend’s care and visitations. In this case, Casey had filled out a healthcare directive that stated he should not be kept alive with help if he was in certain conditions. This was, according to his wishes, to be overseen by his daughter Kerri. He appointed another daughter, Julie, as healthcare proxy.

Legally, that was enough, but a fight still ensued because his second wife wanted to call the shots. Normally a spouse would be in charge, but Casey didn’t let that happen. So how to avoid this mess?

With blended and multiple marriage families, this type of situation occurs more everyday, so here is what to do:

1. Get all parts of the family together for a meeting to discuss your choices.That means steps and exes too.

2. Record the meeting. This is a documented record that could be used in future court proceedings.

3. Give each member and your lawyer a copy of both the directive and healthcare proxy paperwork.

4. If updates are made later, send those out to all parties.

5. Write a letter, addressing all by name stating why you have made this choice and that you do not want any fighting over this. Your decisions are the only ones that count.

If your family is ultra dysfunctional and combative, have each member sign a document drawn up by a lawyer that states if they fight your decision, they will get nothing from your estate.

Every family is different and so is every circumstance.

My Dad sat with my siblings and me and walked us through his wishes. There was no questioning anything. We followed those wishes.

It is human nature to not want to let go of your loved ones. And it is hell watching them die. But to go against what they want causes THEM nothing but heartbreak in their last moments. We can’t be selfish at that point.

It doesn’t matter, by the way, if your family infighting is horrible, suck it up and be at your family member’s bedside all together near the end. Do whatever you have to do to give him/her the sense that you will all be ok together and they can leave in peace.

The entire point is, it isn’t about me or you or any family members except the one who drew up the directives.

Get info on how to create a directive or healthcare proxy here.

 

 

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