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The late Charles Manson, who died at age 83 after decades in prison for orchestrating the deaths of nine people, continues to demand attention from the California legal system. A judge in Los Angeles must now evaluate competing legal claims for Manson’s estate. The judge must determine the legitimacy of at least two wills attributed to Manson and three people presenting themselves as heirs.

Initially, the court will select an attorney to administer the estate on behalf of Manson’s alleged grandson and next of kin. A second man, a musician, questions this claim and has presented himself as a son of Manson who grew up with an adoptive family. The musician said he will file a will that Manson supposedly signed in January 2017. This will names the musician as the estate’s beneficiary.

The emergence of this new will could cancel out the will on file with Kern County since 2002. That will assigns a man who was Manson’s pen pal as the executor and heir. Its terms specifically disinherited any natural born children of Manson. Manson’s estate could potentially generate value for the long term. Whoever achieves control of the estate might profit from the use of his image and story.

Probate issues like these come up fairly regularly. Problems that could arise for a beneficiary include a contested will, inheritance theft or claims from competing heirs. An attorney experienced in probate litigation could provide legal advice about a variety of complex issues like real estate ownership, unpaid bills and location of the next of kin.

Source: NBC News, “Judge aims to referee fight over Charles Manson’s remains,” Jan. 7, 2018