Baby boomers and older Illinois residents are among those most likely to remember news headlines and horrendous crimes involving Charles Manson. Manson was seen as a prophet among those colloquially known as The Manson Family and had spent the majority of his adult life serving multiple life sentences in prison, for masterminding the murders of a pregnant actress, Sharon Tate, and eight other people in the late 1960s. He was still behind bars when he died in 2017, and his heirs and beneficiaries have been fighting over his remains and his estate, ever since.
Several men claimed to have legal rights to Manson’s remains. Two of those men claimed to be his biological sons. Another man told the court he was Manson’s biological grandson, and a fourth man said he was a Manson memorabilia collector and pen pal to Manson. He also said he possessed Manson’s final will, which designated him as sole beneficiary.
It has taken some time for the court to sort through all the assertions. However, a judge recently ruled that two of the men were eliminated from the case because they failed to prove they were biological descendants of Manson. The judge also ruled that the collector’s supposed Manson will was not valid because the witness had signed it before the rest of the document was executed.
Manson’s grandson has been granted permission to take possession of his grandfather’s remains and to inherit his estate. Some believe the battle between the self-proclaimed heirs and beneficiaries may continue if someone files an appeal in light of the judge’s recent decisions. While it is unfortunate when family members and others fight over someone’s estate, it is not uncommon. Illinois residents may be able to spare their loved ones from similar probate litigation by asking experienced estate planning attorneys to review their final will and testaments ahead of time to make certain the terms therein are clearly defined.