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Radio host's family dispute highlights importance of guardianship

Many Washington families have gone through the painful experience of arguing over how to take care of an ailing relative. These arguments can tear a family apart, and they can leave an incapacitated individual without proper care. Recent disputes within the family of radio host Casey Kasem have helped highlight the dangers of these arguments.

A judge recently granted one of Kasem's daughters more legal responsibility over her father's care after finding that Kasem's wife had moved him out of their home state and was not allowing his children to see him. Kasem, who has a form of dementia, was taken out of a California convalescent home in the middle of the night and his children said they did not know where he was. After the children contacted the authorities with their concerns, police began a search for their father. After several days, authorities said they had found Kasem and his wife in Kitsap County.

The judge hearing the dispute has ruled that no one can move Kasem again without a court order, and ordered that his passport be turned in so that he cannot be taken out of the country. At a hearing, the judge expressed frustration that Kasem's wife was apparently preventing a court-appointed attorney from seeing Kasem.

While the details of the Kasem family's dispute may be unusual, the broad outlines of the dispute are unfortunately common. Some of these ugly family arguments can be avoided through careful long-term planning, by choosing an appointed legal guardian before a person needs one. Others have to be handled through the court. A Washington attorney with experience in the law of guardianships and conservatorships can help families to minimize conflict and see that needs are met for the most vulnerable among them.

Source:, "Casey Kasem Daughter Granted More Power in Family Fight," Maria Elena Fernandez, May 20, 2014

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