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Elder Abuse Legal Workshop Informed By Casey Casem’s Family Troubles

OAKHURST — Martha Patterson, a local certified elder care attorney, says one of the most rewarding experiences of her 35-year legal career was helping Kerri and Julie Kasem visit their dad, Casey Kasem, towards the end of his life. In that case, she was instrumental in Kerri Kasem obtaining conservatorship over her father’s medical care.

At a special workshop at the Oakhurst Branch Library on Saturday, June 22, Patterson will talk about what she learned about elder abuse from that family’s legal case. The presentation is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the library’s Community Room, 49044 Civic Circle Dr., Oakhurst.

Casey Casem

Kemal Amin “Casey” Kasem was an American disc jockey, music historian and voice actor, among other talents, who co-founded the American Top 40 franchise in 1970.

According to Patterson, the struggle between Kasem’s second wife, Jean, and his children from his first marriage began after the court determined that he lacked capacity to make his own medical decisions.

“Fortunately, he had signed a Health Care Directive in 2007 naming his daughter, Julie, and her husband as his first choice to make health decisions for him. He named his daughter, Kerri, as his second choice,” says Patterson.

Patterson says Kasem had a “good relationship” with his children from his first marriage and visited them often until his wife, Jean, insisted on isolating him from his family and friends. She emphasized that “isolation is elder abuse” and neither a wife, an agent under a health care directive nor a conservator has the right to keep someone from seeing their family and friends.

This is just one of the things Patterson says she learned from this heart-wrenching family legal case that she will be discussing at her presentation.

“In the end, Kasem was praying with his children on Father’s Day in 2014 when he took his last breath. He was 82,” she adds.

Patterson and her husband, Robert, are newcomers to Oakhurst, where they recently moved from Los Angeles. A Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, Patterson also recently added California State Bar Legal Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law to her legal credentials.

The free event is sponsored by the Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library (FOBL). For more information, call the library at (559) 683-4838 or visit FOBL’s website. People can also contact Patterson by visiting her website.

Photo of Casey Casem by Alan Light

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