Proper estate planning essential to avoiding end of life drama

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Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 5:42 pm

SARASOTA, FLA. -- Richard Gans is an attorney who specializes in estate planning, wills and trusts. He says the Casey Kasem saga is shining a light on the importance of estate planning.

“What we see with Casey Kasem is that no matter what is on the paper people will do weird stuff and that is what we have here, you can't factor out human nature.”

Kasem's daughter has a power of attorney for her father but Kasem's wife of nearly three decades, Jean Kasem, has moved her husband to an undisclosed location, possibly out of the country. Casey Kasem, now 82, has been diagnosed with Lewy body disease which is the most common causes of dementia in the elderly.

Gans says even though the Kasem ordeal is not a good example, he says it is still very important to protect your assets by planning for incapacitation or death by creating a power of attorney and making a will.

“I have seen situations where there wasn't any pre-planning, that client became incapacitated and the family sort of polarized and divided up into sides, and that gets expensive and breaks up a family,” Gans says.

Bud and Barbara MacFarland have a blended family of five children and 15 grand kids.

“We got married four years ago so we kind of put our assets together and we spelled it all out in front of an attorney,” said MacFarland, adding that they have planned for their final hours so their families will not have to worry about it. “Everything is cut and dry, it is all in writing.”

Gilles Nadeau has done his estate planning with a will and named his wife the beneficiary.

“You have to protect yourself,” said Nadeau. “If I die it leaves it right up to her and she will handle it and then when she dies she will split it between my two girls, and then the two girls can do what ever they want with it.”

Liese Reilly says her family also has wills in place, but she wants her kids to keep a summer home in the family.

“And I want some kind of stipulation that when we go it is passed down for 10 more generations. I don’t want fighting over anything,” said Reilly.

It is a request that might be easier said than done.

“No amount of planing is going to be able to factor out human nature,” said Gans. “If somebody wants to pull a fast one and do something that they shouldn't do, they are going to do it and they are going to see if they can get away with it and ask for forgiveness later and not permission first.”

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