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Lessons from Kasem family on estate planning and adult children

Casey Kasem's body is missing. That is the latest development in the battle that has plagued his family since his illness became so prevalent. His children are accusing his wife of being greedy. His wife is accusing his children of being greedy. Even in his last days, the rift between the two sides carved out nothing but misery. For those of us who are still fortunate enough to still be here, there are some interesting lessons that can be garnered from this sad situation. Texas residents might be interested in learning why estate planning Is important for those with adult children.

In Kasem's case, his wife wasn't the biological mother of his children. In fact, she was much younger than him. She was born in 1954 and he was born in 1932, according to Internet Movie Database. Since this wasn't his first marriage and Kasem was much older than his wife, proper estate planning might have stopped some of the legal battles that have ensued.

For most people, there is an expectation that if the husband dies first, the wife will distribute assets via her own will. For that reason, the husband will usually leave everything to the wife. When there are adult children involved, however, that can cause problems like the ones between the radio legend's wife and children.

Using estate planning tools like trusts can help to make your wishes known in a way that can't be misconstrued. When there is only a will, adult children might contest the will if they don't feel it is valid. They might think the spouse influenced the will instructions or might claim the will is unclear. Casey Kasem's family fight has proved that having a clearly conveyed estate plan is vital for anyone who has adult children.

Source: MarketWatch, "How proper planning can avert a Casey Kasem-type drama" Annika Ferris Cushnie, Jul. 23, 2014

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