The public fight over the care and conservatorship of famed radio personality and voice-over actor Casey Kasem, who died last month, has brought to the fore the legal problems family members can face when there is an internecine feud over the care of a loved one. The case has in fact prompted legislation to be introduced into the California Assembly, where it seems well on its way to becoming law.
AB2034 by Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles addresses conflicts among family members, such as between adult children and stepparents, over an ill spouse/parent in need of care. The bill allows adult children to petition a judge for visitation rights of abused or dependent parents, when their access to the parent is being blocked by the spouse.
AB2034 passed out of the Assembly in May on a vote of 78 to 0. It has since been introduced into the Senate and has already made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 7-0 vote. The bill is currently in Appropriations. The measure went through the same route in the Assembly, passing through the lower house’s Judiciary and Appropriations committees before being voted on by the full body.
In the case of Casey Kasem, daughter Kerri Kasem had taken the lead among her siblings in fighting for access to and a say in the care of father Casey Kasem, whose care was under the direction of wife Jean Kasem, stepmother to Kerri and the other Kasem children. The children eventually settled for limited visitation versus expending enormous legal costs to continue battling over conservatorship in the courts in their father’s final days.