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Who Gets Casey Kasem’s $2 Million?

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Noting that Casey Kasem's children suspect their mother of having been "involved" in his death, MetLife seeks help with a $2 million life insurance policy.

MetLife sued the television host's widow, Jean Kasem, as trustee of the Casey Kasem Trust, and his four children, Kerri Helen Kasem, Liberty Irene Kasem, Michael Kamen Kasem and Julie Elizabeth Kasem, on Oct. 30.

MetLife filed a similar complaint-in-interpleader on Oct. 3, citing a July 31 letter from Jean Kasem's lawyer, Samuel Zurier, in which it was allegedly asserted that "one or more" of the children "may have had a role in the insured's demise."

That lawsuit relates to Casey Kasem Children's Irrevocable Trust. Both trusts provide for more than $2 million in life insurance benefits.

Casey Kasem died on June 15 in Gig Harbor, Wash. He had Alzheimer's, dementia and Lewy body disorder, a rare progressive degenerative disease.

The insurer's latest complaint cites the claim by Kasem's children that his widow was "involved in the death" and thus has no claim to the $2,082,231 in life insurance benefits.

Kasem's cause of death on his death certificate is still pending, MetLife says.

In an Oct. 8 letter to MetLife, cited in the lawsuit, the children's lawyer Martha Patterson allegedly wrote:

"'Medical reports show that after Casey Kasem was removed from the facility he suffered a stage three bed sore and dehydration under the care of Jean Kasem; his death resulted from the bed sore and dehydration. If it is proved that Jean Kasem intentionally caused the death of Casey Kasem she will be disinherited under Probated [sic] Code 250. Therefor [sic] MetLife is legally obligated to interplead those funds pending the criminal investigation.'"

Calling itself an uninterested stakeholder, MetLife says it cannot pay the $2 million "given the competing interests," and wants a judge to settle the dispute and absolve it of liability.

Without court intervention, MetLife says, it is "faced with the real and reasonable potential of duplicative or multiple liability."

MetLife says it is happy to place the $2 million in court registry until the dispute is sorted out.

The insurer is represented by Royal Oakes with Hinshaw & Culbertson.

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