Last month, broadcasting legend Casey Kasem passed away after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia. However, a bitter family dispute threatened to overshadow the famed radio personality’s iconic career as the drama unfolded across news outlets nationwide.
While Kasem was fighting for his life, his wife and daughter were battling it out in court for control of his affairs and medical decisions. Even after his passing, the legal wrangling raged on. Today, Kasem’s family members remain embroiled in litigation over how to dispose of the former disc jockey’s remains more than one month after his death. So much for resting in peace.
Unfortunately, these types of tough family situations happen more often than you may think. When people are forced to make difficult decisions in the most difficult of times, it is inevitable that emotions and frustrations will present themselves. Often times, the court battles soon follow.
However, there are ways to help avoid these types of entanglements between the loved ones left behind. An Advanced Health Care Directive is a document that informs your physician, family, and friends of your health care preferences in the event you are unable to make those important decisions on your own.
In the event of such incapacitation, the Advanced Health Care Directive provides a clear plan as to who will make certain medical decisions and can also include preferences for treatment, testing, surgical procedures, and organ donation. For many people, a Directive can provide critical guidance to family members struggling to come to grips with a difficult situation.
As the Kasem case demonstrates, no estate plan is perfect. However, experienced counsel can help you create a comprehensive plan that clearly establishes your ultimate wishes and can help avoid costly legal battles between loved ones.
To learn more about Advanced Health Care Directives and other estate planning tools, contact a local attorney at Davis & Wojcik, APLC today to set up an appointment at one of their two local offices. For more information, contact Davis & Wojcik at 951-652-9000 (Hemet) or 951-587-2222 (Temecula) or visit their website at www.davisandwojcik.com
Matthew Duarte is an associate attorney at Davis & Wojcik, APLC with experience in civil and criminal litigation. He is the President of the Mt. San Jacinto/Hemet Bar Association, Vice President of the Hemet-San Jacinto Chapter of the National Exchange Club, a Barrister in the Southwest Inn of Court, and a member of the Rotary Club of Menifee. Mr. Duarte lives in Menifee with his wife, Cody, and their two children.