Late radio host Casey Kasem's daughter on a mission to change Arkansas laws
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) —
The daughter of late radio legend Casey Kasem visited Arkansas on a mission to change state laws when it comes to visitation rights.
Kerri Kasem battled with her stepmother in court after she refused to allow Kasem's children to visit him as his life slipped away.
"We were told straight out, you're never going to see your dad again and we thought, OK we'll just call the police, called the police, they couldn't help us,” said Kasem. “Oh, we'll call adult protective services, they'll help, they didn't help us.”
Had Kasem not won her legal battle, she would have had to shell out $350,000 fighting against her stepmother after she became her father's guardian. This is why she wants to make sure people have the rights to visit a loved one, by urging lawmakers to pass the Kasem Cares Visitation bill.
"Adult children have no visitation rights to their parents, none, zero, people think well if I was blocked from my mom or dad, I would just go into the house, well you can't you would be arrested,” added Kasem. “The police can't help you, adult protective services can't help you and if you go to the courts there's no legal recourse unless you fight an entire guardianship battle or power of attorney."
It took eight months in court, battling her stepmom for guardianship, before Kasem won guardianship. A long drawn out process she wants to prevent in the future with HB1678, that would allow visitation petitions to be decided by a judge.
"The guardian or caretaker does not have to tell you when they die, does not have to tell you where they're buried, does not have to give you their ashes or any of their belongings or let you back in the house again, that is actually legal," added Kasem.
It was a harsh reality for Kime Eubanks and his children, an Arkansan who testified in Wednesday's committee meeting that they didn't even know his mother-in-law had passed, until he read it in the paper.
"In a nut shell, a repeat drug offender in Saline County worked her way into my mother in law's life, my wife had passed away so we were helping my children's grandmother,” Eubanks told KATV. “This woman worked her way into her life, obtained power of attorney, the grandmother was mentally incapacitated because of strokes, so we just simply couldn't get on the phone with her, knocked on the door and couldn't get into the home."
The sponsor of the bill, Representative Rick Beck (R-65), plans to bring this bill back up for a vote next week.
Lawmakers didn’t take a vote on Wednesday, because some were concerned with the guardianship decision section of the bill; which would require guardians to essentially go to court for most of the decisions made.
KATV will continue to follow this story.