Where in the World is Casey Kasem?
The legendary Top 40 Countdown DJ, Casey Kasem, passed away in June, 2014 after a dramatic Hollywood style guardianship dispute between Casey’s wife, Jean Kasem, and his daughter from a prior relationship, Kerri Kasem. The “dad-knapping” of this famous American from California to Seattle while he was still alive has already been covered by our very own Jordan Atin here for those of you who are interested in the first volume of what is turning out to be a never-ending battle between Jean and Kerri.
However as a quick recap, Casey was taken from a nursing home in California where he was kept alive through a feeding tube and transported to a friend’s home near Seattle against all medical advice. Jean allegedly disconnected the feeding tube herself and removed Casey from the nursing home without notifying anyone else in Casey’s family. Casey was eventually located after a nation-wide man hunt and Kerri was named as his conservator (the American equivalent to a guardian). Casey then passed away shortly in Washington after a Court gave permission to remove Casey from life support.
Now fast forward to December, 2014 and Casey’s body seems to have found its way to…
Oslo, Norway (!)
While Kerri’s claims that Casey wished to be buried in Glendale California, his home for 53 years, Jean has removed Casey’s body from the U.S.A. altogether. According to Forbes, Jean used her authority as Casey’s next of kin to fly him to Oslo, Norway… through Montreal, Quebec.
Kerri claims that Jean’s motivation to bury Casey in Norway is to evade criminal, elder abuse investigations involved in the “dad-napping” incident. In an attempt to lay her father to rest in California, Kerri wrote a letter to Norwegian officials signed by Casey’s family and friends and she also started an online petition to stop her father’s burial which gathered 24,000 signatures. While Kerri appears to be successful for the time being in preventing the burial of her father in Norway, his body remains in Oslo today.
As dramatic as the story of Casey Kasem has turned out to be, it is important to be mindful that a person’s desired burial arrangements are not binding on his or her estate trustee in Ontario. Even if a testator has expressed his intention to be buried in a certain place and in a certain manner, that intention is only a wish and it is within the discretion of the estate trustee to provide alternate arrangements as he or she deems appropriate. Only in rare cases have we seen case law where family members were successful in challenging an estate trustee’s discretion with regard to the burial arrangements.
One can’t help but imagine how different the Casey Kasem story would have been if he was an Ontario resident with a Will which named his daughter Kerri as the estate trustee.
Thanks for reading!