Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer Discusses the Emerging Conflict Over Murderer’s Estate

Manson, Naperville estate planning attorneyLosing a loved one is always difficult, and it is not uncommon for disputes to arise over the recently deceased person’s estate. While most disputes are fairly minor and can be resolved amicably, others are more complex and require professional legal guidance. In my practice as an estate planning lawyer, I have helped all types of families embroiled in a variety of estate contests. It is with this experience that I have been following a story that has continued to make national headlines.

Infamous serial killer Charles Manson died in November of 2017, but his final affairs are far from being over. A battle has emerged over the control of his estate, which has surprised many. After all, who would want to be associated with a man who spent fifty years in prison for the most horrific crimes imaginable?

Competition Over Manson’s Estate and Publishing Rights

Three individuals are currently vying for control of Charles Manson’s estate and legacy. The first is a man who has spent years collecting Manson memorabilia and sending letters to the former cult leader. This penpal met with Manson 2002 and was allegedly named the executor of Manson’s will shortly thereafter. The alleged will gave the man control over Manson’s body upon his death and awarded the man Manson’s property – including the royalty rights to songs he wrote and image and publishing rights. The will also purportedly disinherited anyone claiming to be Manson’s biological child as well as his other living relatives.

The second man involved in this dispute is Charles Manson’s grandson. He and his attorney dispute the validity of the will signed in 2002. In California, two witnesses are required to sign a will, but this will only has one witness. One witness is acceptable if the witness was also a beneficiary, but that person is then required to convince the court that there was no duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence on the testator. Because Manson reportedly sent the will to his penpal unexpectedly, it is assumed that he was not there when Manson signed it. This could mean that the will is invalid.

A third individual is claiming he is a biological son of Manson, given up for adoption as an infant. He claims that he was named the sole beneficiary in a 2017 will and that another memorabilia collector was named as the executor of the will. Although this will has not yet surfaced, if valid, it will supersede the alleged 2002 will. If this happens, Manson’s body and whatever property, royalty, and image rights remain will be awarded to this alleged son. Until the competing claims can be confirmed or dismissed, Manson’s body and his estate are in limbo.

Call Us for Help

If you wish to create a will or have other estate planning questions, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Naperville estate planning attorneys for help. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.