ANOTHER CELEBRITY CASE MAKING CHANGES
In the last few months that Casey Kasem had on this earth, he was the center of a brouhaha between his daughter, Kerri Kasem, and her stepmother, Jean Kasem, Mr. Kasem’s second wife. More specifically, Kerri Kasem alleged that at the end of the Mr. Kasem’s life she tried to visit with him but was not allowed until she forced the issue via a court Order. Kerri obviously cared deeply for her father and was clearly distraught over how everything played out during Ms. Kasem’s last few months as almost anyone would. She decided to do something about it and created the Kasem Cares Foundation to advocate for parental visitation laws.
It is not surprising that Kerri Kasem sound to advocate for change, as Mr. Kasem was well known for his advocacy against things such as factory farming and his refusal to engage in movies as a voice actor that portrayed Arabs in a negative light; the Kasem’s are of Lebanese heritage. Kerri Kasem also followed her father into the radio industry. Mr. Kasem passed away on June 15, 2014 and in the last two years, the foundation can justifiably claim some modest success.
Iowa already created a law that allows for visitation between an ailing adult ward (someone under guardianship) and someone with whom the ailing adult indicates he wants to see or visit with, although the impetus to enact the law came from an instate, far sighted fair minded legislature. While the law allows a guardian to object to the visitation, a Court will only stop those visits on good cause. California also recently passed a law of similar effect. Texas passed a law that specifically allows for visitation between the adult ward and his/her children.
MORE CHANGES TO COME
During the time that Iowa’s legislature debated the above noted bill, Kerri Kasem stated that she will seek to have every state adopt a parenting visitation bill and that guardianship laws across the nation must change to accommodate these issues. Iowa’s bill garnered bipartisan support and given that three states changed their laws in less than two years is a sign that more change is likely to come down the pike. There is no shortage of support, even amongst celebrities. Peter Falk’s daughter Catherine Falk dealt with similar issues with Mr. Falk’s wife allegedly hiding his health status from his children. Moreover, it is hard to imagine where an organized resistance to the new law would come from. It must also be remembered that the population of elderly people is on the rise in each state, both as raw numbers and, perhaps more importantly, as a percentage of the population. Modern medicine also allows for people to live longer than ever.
This means, not surprisingly, that the number of people who will have to rely on their children, friends or guardians to manage their affairs will also rise. These sorts of conflicts will inevitably increase and each state will have to manage these issues in their own time; although that time will likely happen sooner rather than later.