Beasley Allen recently joined forces with the CBC Law Group in an elder abuse lawsuit filed on behalf of the children and grandchildren of Gerald Kessler, the founder of Natural Organics, Inc. The dispute is over an Amendment in 2013 to the Gerald A. Kessler Revocable Trust, which gave Melanie Kay Williams (an actress also known as Meadow Williams) control over most of Mr. Kessler’s assets upon his death in March 2015. The family alleges in their lawsuit that Ms. Williams, who is 31 years younger than Mr. Kessler, manipulated and unduly influenced him to execute new estate planning documents through elder abuse.
The Kessler family members who were very close to their father say they have had a hard time accepting how he was treated and what little control they were allowed to have to help him during his final days. A few months ago, family members reached out to Kerri Kasem, daughter of the late American DJ icon Casey Kasem, after hearing about her work to improve elder care and protect this vulnerable part of our society.
Kerri started The Kasem Cares Foundation to assist the thousands of adult children and family members all over the Unites States whose ability to visit and/or communicate with an ailing parent or family member has been terminated, unreasonably restricted, or otherwise obstructed by a later-in-time step-parent or other legal caretaker. The Foundation’s purpose is to give adult children and family members in these unfair circumstances legal recourse – a way to fight for their right to spend time with an ailing parent or other family member. That’s because at present there is no legal recourse, right, process or procedure for adult children/family members who find themselves in this situation in the United States (outside the outrageously expensive and time-consuming conservatorship/guardianship process) available to them.
Dedicated and determined to rectify this injustice, Kerri Kasem, through the Kasem Cares Foundation, started her work with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who introduced AB2034 – groundbreaking legislation for California – that created a first-of-its-kind legal process allowing adult children and family members to file a petition in a court requesting to visit their ailing family member when visitation is being denied by a spouse or other legal caretaker. With the public’s help and continued support, Kerri and the Kasem Cares Foundation state that they will not stop until this important legislation is passed into law in each of the other 49 states.
Kerri Kasem held the Kasem Cares Conference on Aging recently in Orange County, Calif. More than 220 persons attended the inaugural conference, which was American Public Health Association (APHA) accredited for physicians, nurses, and health educators to receive continuing education credits. The educational goal of the Kasem Cares Conference on Aging is to offer health care professionals and practitioners the opportunity to enhance their knowledge, exchange information on best practices, and learn about the latest research and trends. The conference covered issues including aging, elder abuse awareness and prevention, and quality of life for older adults.
Elder abuse can happen to any individual and any family regardless of socioeconomic status. The Foundation aims to make this country a better and safer place in which to age with integrity. This national conference raised awareness and drew attention to the aging population. Featured keynote speakers were Fritz Coleman and Paul Greenwood. Educational programs, exhibits and speakers also included a collaborative effort among community based service providers, law enforcement, attorneys and area agencies on aging.
Our firm’s involvement with the Kessler case exposed our lawyers to the significant problem with the isolation and abuse that exists with our elderly family members in our country. We are proud to join CBC and the Kasem Cares Foundation in support of this cause. Visit www.kasemcares.com for more information and for more information on the 2016 Kasem Cares Conference on Aging, visit www.agingandeducation.com.
Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Lance Gould and Leslie Pescia are working with David J. Callahan, III, managing partner of the CBC Law Group, and Constance L. Akridge and Tamara Reid from Holland & Hart LLP in Reno, Nev., on behalf of the Kessler family.
If you have questions about this case or would like to discuss a legal matter involving estate issues, elder abuse or other litigation, contact Lance Gould, a lawyer in our firm’s Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section, at 334-269-2343 or email Lance.Gould@beasleyallen.com. You can also contact David Callahan, the lawyer who is mentioned above, at 615-988-9635 or David@cbcfirm.com.
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