Most of us remember Casey Kasem from his time spent as the voice of the radio program American Top 40 and as the voice of "Shaggy" from Scooby-Doo. Sadly, this radio legend passed away this weekend, having lost his battle with Lewy Body Disease, a common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s.
Prior to his passing, Kasem’s family members were involved in a bitter dispute for control over his medical care. Last week, a Washington state judge ruled that Kasem’s daughter, not his wife, would control his medical care. Then, on June 11th, a California judge reversed a June 9th ruling that Kasem should receive food, fluids, and certain medications. The ruling gave Kasem's daughter the authority to withhold food and fluids from her ailing father.
What can be learned from these unfortunate events?
- First - execute a Medical Power of Attorney. A Medical Power of Attorney grants authority to an agent to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Selecting an agent to make these healthcare decisions helps keep these situations out of the courts.
- Second - choose an agent who will consider your best interests before making medical decisions. Sometimes people don’t want to hurt feelings and end up choosing an agent they really don’t feel comfortable with. Remember, the person you name as your agent has the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. You want to name someone who understands you and will follow through with your wishes.
- Third - create an Advanced Medical Directive, also known as a Living Will. This document comes into effect if you’re in a terminal condition, persistent vegetative state, or a similar condition. The Living Will directs doctors on how to care for you under those circumstances, such as whether to provide you with intubated foods and fluids, drug treatment, or whether or not to keep you on life support.
Taking these precautions does not guarantee that unfortunate situations like Casey Kasem’s will be avoided, but they will help ensure that your wishes are carried out. If you have questions about what steps to take to ensure your affairs are in order, the attorneys at Morris Hall are happy to assist you.
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.