Charles Manson estate dispute heating up

A recent story online discusses the latest developments on the estate of the notorious cult leader and murderer, Charles Manson (November 12, 1943 – November 19, 2017).

According to the story, two of his sons, Michael G. Brunner and Matthew Robert Lentz, are apparently moving forward with a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court based on a 2017 Will. Charles Manson allegedly signed the 2017 Will at Concoran State Prison on January 11, 2017. This is where he was serving his life sentence until his death on November 19, 2017. The 2017 Will lists a friend, Benjamin J. Gureki, as executor of the estate. Additionally, the 2017 Will lists Mr. Lentz as Charles Manson’s only child and beneficiary.

Mr. Brunner also believes the 2017 Will is valid. He is Charles Manson’s son with former Manson Family member Mary. It is not clear why he would be supporting the will if he is not named a beneficiary.

Additionally, Mr. Gureki refused to act and instead nominated Mr. Lentz and Mr. Brunner as co-administrators of the estate. Various petitions were filed by other individuals asserting interests in the estate, including his pen pal Michael Channels. Mr. Channels has also filed an earlier Will allegedly signed on February 14, 2002. This earlier Will allegedly disinherits Mr. Brunner and another son, Charles Manson Jr. Additionally, all of the estate under the earlier will  is to go to Mr. Channels including publishing rights.

A further complicating factor is that Jason Freeman, son of Charles Manson Jr., allegedly also filed a petition seeking control of the estate. A Kern County Judge ruled that Mr. Freeman could collect the body of the deceased cult leader. As a result, a funeral was held on March 17, 2018 (several months after his death), and the cremated remains were scattered on a California hillside.

Dispute over the validity of the Wills is very likely

The fact that there are two purported Wills seem to suggest that a dispute over the validity of the Wills will follow. Many parties are attempting to assert interests in the estate.

Furthermore, Charles Manson was 82 years old when he allegedly signed the 2017 Will. It is unclear whether he had legal advice at the time and whether he had testamentary capacity.

It is also unclear what the value of the estate is. The estate likely has significant potential for future earnings based on image, music, movie, and publishing rights. The dispute is gathering significant media attention. The parties were ordered to attend a status conference about the case on May 8, 2018. This will be an interesting story to follow.

More on this story here.