A judge approved the distribution of more than $500,000 in life insurance proceeds to each of the late Casey Kasem’s four children, including one daughter who is a defendant along with her mother in a wrongful death lawsuit filed last year against the late “American Top 40” host’s second wife by his three older children and his brother.
Liberty Kasem, 26, is the only child born to Casey and Jean Kasem, who was married to the longtime radio personality from 1980 until his June 2014 death at age 82 from a form of dementia and a severe bedsore.
Under the terms of the distribution approved June 13 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Barry, Liberty Kasem will not receive her share of the $2.09 million policy until she reaches age 40. Her step-siblings — Kerri, Michael and Julie — all are over age 40 and are entitled to their shares outright.
The life insurance policy is part of the Casey Kasem Irrevocable Children’s Trust, which was created by Kasem in April 1996. The trustee, Mark Armbruster, is an attorney and was a longtime friend of the broadcaster. He was the petitioner in the bid to distribute the funds to the Kasem children.
The wrongful death suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last Nov. 25 against Jean and Liberty Kasem. It also alleges elder abuse and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The complaint further alleges Jean Kasem committed intentional infliction of emotional distress by isolating her husband’s older children from their father before his death and that she breached a settlement agreement she had with Julie Kasem by making it hard for her to visit with her father during most of the last six months of his life.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Kerri, Julie and Michael Kasem and their uncle, Mouner. They fought Jean Kasem over visitation access before her husband died.
Kerri Kasem was given temporary conservatorship powers over her father and had control of his medical care. The temporary conservatorship expired upon his death, but she was later appointed special administrator of her father’s estate.
In their court papers, the plaintiffs cited Jean Kasem’s decision to move her husband from a medical facility in Santa Monica to a friend’s home in Washington state.
The traveling took its toll on the famed deejay, causing him to suffer a bedsore a month before he died “after a seven-day sojourn in Jean and Liberty’s custody,” the suit states.
After his death, Jean Kasem transported her husband’s body to Norway, where he was buried in an unmarked grave despite his wishes to be buried at a cemetery in Los Angeles, the lawsuit states.
In May 2015, the District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges against Jean Kasem regarding her husband’s death.
Casey Kasem began his “American Top 40” radio show in July 1970, signing off each time with the message, “And don’t forget: Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”
Kerri, Julie and Michael Kasem were born during their father’s 1972-79 marriage to Linda Myers.
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