Kerri, Julie and Mike Kasem have asked a judge to dismiss their wrongful death lawsuit against their stepmother, Jean Kasem, 64, as part of a settlement after a four-year legal feud.
While these cases make the headlines due to the celebrity status of the parties and the amount of money involved, dramas like this for much smaller amounts happen all too frequently. Death and money can bring out the worst of family dysfunction.
How can families prevent this kind of outcome? There is no simple answer, and if the dynamics among the family are already toxic, then it’s even more important that families have a solid, written plan in place before incapacity strikes. It may not have prevented the accusations of wrongful death between the parties, but it could have created a structure of care and wealth distribution that could have neutralized or minimized any incentive for the parties to commit a wrongful death offense.
Unfortunately, no estate plan can prevent an immoral or illegal act; nor can it instill character in the lives of others.