Our beloved “American Top 40” judge is where? His children are trying to get a what? Evil stepmom Jean took him why? If you knew and loved American disc jockey Casey Kasem and grew up listening to his popular 1980s show, you may have been upset and confused by the news that this 82-year-old music man was sick and had disappeared. What happened? Where was he? Why were his children trying to obtain a conservatorship?

What Is A Conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a circumstance when a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (a conservator) to care for another adult who cannot care for her or himself or manage her or his own finances. The conservatee may have become incapacitated due to illness or injury. The conservator is responsible for making sure that the conservatee has appropriate food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Depending on the conservatee’s ability to understand and make decisions, a conservator may also need to make important medical choices for the conservatee. However, you don’t have to wait for a judge to appoint someone as your conservator; you can appoint your own conservator before this becomes necessary.

Casey’s Diagnosis And Fight For Conservatorship

Casey was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013. A few months later, he was re-diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease, a disease that is in the same family as dementia and difficult to differentiate from Parkinson’s. Soon, Casey could no longer speak and he lacked the capacity to make decisions for himself.

Prior to the actual diagnosis, his second wife Jean stopped allowing Casey’s three older children see their father, which prompted his eldest daughter, Julie, to seek a court order naming her and her husband as conservators of Casey. The court denied their petition even though Casey had signed papers in 2007 giving Julie and her hubby power of attorney over his health care.

Jean’s further isolation of Casey caused his other daughter, Kerri, to try again to obtain a conservatorship over her father. Kerri filed a motion for a temporary conservatorship, a move that may have incited Jean to move Casey out of his medical care facility in the middle of the night and take him to an undisclosed location. This prompted a nationwide search for Casey by family and friends who were upset and worried. Several days later, Casey was found in Washington State.

Judge’s Decision

Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy was very concerned by Casey’s disappearance, and Kerri won her petition for temporary conservatorship. On Friday, May 23, 2014, Jean was served with court documents that temporarily suspended her ability to make health care decisions for Casey and required her to surrender his passport. Daughter Kerri’s powers over her father were expanded; the family was thrilled that they could now ensure their father’s health and safety and uphold his wishes for end-of-life care. When his health continued to deteriorate, the family placed Casey on end-of-life measures. A few weeks later, on June 15, 2014, he passed away.

The intense family turmoil between Casey’s three adult children and his wife Jean could have been prevented had Casey prepared the proper estate planning documents. Casey should have named a conservator to make these exact decisions so his family would not have had to involve the courts.

Learn from Casey

Appoint a conservator and get your estate plan in order. Learn more about estate planning and how we can help.  As Casey always said, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”