AS A DISC JOCKEY in high school and college nothing influenced my love for music as much as Casey Kasem. I remember even at 12 years old sitting on the floor next to my new stereo system (with an 8-track player!) and listening to the entire Weekly Top 40. I’d sit with a sheet of paper and write out everything, from the new hot songs just appearing on the charts to the “long distance dedication” (sure to make any room dusty), to the big number one hit “from coast to coast” each episode.
As a podcaster, I still learn from Casey Kasem. I think Casey stayed on top not just because of his golden voice but because of his ability to make every weekly show dramatic. I didn’t think these were the top 40 songs of the week; I thought of them as the soundtrack for my life.
That’s why it’s so unfortunate that the end of his life was so….er….dramatic.
For those people who try their best to ignore pop news (like me!), here’s the synopsis: Casey’s daughter filed a lawsuit because Casey’s spouse “stole” him from the place he was receiving treatment and moved him to an undisclosed location. She (Casey’s spouse, thought that The courts agreed and soon they “found” Casey, brought him back to a facility, and soon after, Casey passed away.
Those of you who followed all of the Kasem family fireworks know that I’ve just shared a little less than the bare-bones story. There was plenty of fighting between spouse and daughter, and lots of grandstanding about who actually loved Casey most.
Pretty much everyone.
That’s why I think there are SO many lessons we can learn from this situation.
1) Create a complete estate plan. I don’t know the details of Casey Kasem’s estate plan, but yours should include an advanced health care directive. This will ensure that if you don’t have the ability to talk to your physicians, your wishes are clear, spelled out, and (most importantly) written in a legal document.
2) Declare (in your health care directive) who is going to be in charge. The fight between Casey’s spouse and daughter may not have played out if everyone knew exactly who was going to call the shots. Who should you have call the shots? I’d recommend someone with a medical background, if possible. If not, make it the most level-headed person in your family. They don’t have to know medicine, but they DO need to be clear about your wishes and have the ability to make them happen, even if everyone is complaining.
3) Hold a family meeting to discuss your plans. If the entire family knows exactly what you want, it’ll be easier for family members to decide exactly what the best course of action should be later.
Would these three steps have prevented the whole family from imploding in public?
As one estate planning attorney I recommended to many of my clients liked to remind me, anyone can go off the deep end for any reason, at any time. If you have your financial house in order, though, you make the chances that you’ll all end up on the front page (with nobody looking good) much, much less.
Photo: Alan Light
Want more? How about and awesome book that Kasey might like…about my hometown and history of music.
First of all, I was so sad about his death (my Music Mondays posts were inspired by my love of Casey’s Top 40 growing up), but like you, I was more unhappy with what went down before he passed. As a financial planner, long term care and end of life plans are things that I stress with clients as young as 50. Declining health is a challenge on everyone mentally and financially and the best way to save your loved ones the stress is to have proper planning in place. Hopefully, Casey is in a better place sending over truly long distance requests and dedications.
John S @ Frugal Rules
Wow, I must be living under a rock as I had no idea that 99% of this happened. I loved listening to Casey! I remember sitting there next to my radio listening to his show and wondering what the top songs would be as he was so good at weaving a story throughout the show. That said, you’re spot on with what we can take from this. We’ve seen issues in our family and it’s always a shame when the person doesn’t take the time to make these things known. We did the large majority of this after having our first kid and are still working on some parents to do it.
When Adam Baker was on our podcast he talked about how people always seem to die in the middle….people don’t get to have “the end” in most cases. We’re doing other things and suddenly we’re gone.
That’s why it’s really cool you’ve got your estate plan done, John. You’re a guy who’s WAY too young for that and you’ve already got your ducks in a row!
…but you still hate Frozen.
LOL, I on occasion will “entertain” the kids with the replays of the Top 40 they play on a local station here, so they know Casey well. Apparently he did some animated voice roles too. Too bad that, like with so much of Hollywood, things had to end on such a bad note. 🙁 Excellent tips here, Joe.
That’s cool they replay the old ones. That’s like a good trip down memory lane…..
I was like you and I used to listen religiously to his top 40 countdown as a kid. One of my favorite activities as a kid was to play DJ with my giant boom box. 🙂 It’s sad that this is how his life ended. His wife sounds a bit crazy, and from what Access Hollywood told me (heh heh) he did seem to have his ducks in a row, but there still seems to be a lot of fighting and I’m not sure who is right and who is wrong. Tough situation.
I never read whether he had a great estate plan or not, and it’s everyone’s right to go off the deep end no matter what the estate plan reads…..but that much acrimony says to me that somewhere some communication got missed.
Then again, CNN reported there was $80M dollars at stake, so that might have something to do with it, too….
Casey Kasem was a big part of my life growing up too and it so sad what happened in the end. People put off creating their estate plan and this situation is a good reminder as to why you shouldn’t. It’s an emotional time when a loved one is dying and if relationships are tenuous and there is no clear directive as to what he/she wants done – it can lead to some ugly, ugly battles. It takes so much pressure off the family when they know what you want to happen in the end.
The saddest part is….who “won”? I think his wife sounded like a crackpot, but I don’t know….the media told me that. Once CK left her care, he was dead very quickly. Is that what he wanted?
You’re right on the mark (as usual), Shannon. Don’t put this stuff off.
Tie the Money Knot
Great points, Joe. This recent example got a lot of attention because of the celebrity status of the individual. I’ve been told I do a good Shaggy impression….though perhaps the joke’s on me?
Anyway, people really can do downhill quickly, and/or circumstances change. It’s important for people as they get older to have an estate plan and be very clear in communicating it to family stakeholders. Father time is undefeated, nobody can win. The thing is, we don’t know how/when the game will be over, so best to be prepared ahead of time to protect our family. Not the best analogy or subject perhaps, but very important nonetheless.
You could fill in for Casey! He never died…..he just runs Tie the Money Knot! 😉
Ugh, that’s a mess. What a sad end to his life. I used to love Casey Kasem’s countdowns and fondly remember catching a lot of those tunes on my cassette tapes. He did have a heck of a voice.
I remember listening to the countdown with Casey Kasem growing up. Great points about having an estate plan and health care directives. It’s a little morbid to discuss but it’s so important. We had those discussions with my parents