Even Charles Manson Needed a Will

Even Charles Manson had a will. The will is interesting for a few reasons other than being the will of a notorious person. He disinherited known and unknown children and devised his various intangible property rights to a beneficiary. With regard to disinheriting children, having a will (or revocable trust) is the best way to disinherit heirs. If you do not have a will you have no control over who will inherit your estate. In this case, the testator not only identified who he was specifically disinheriting, he also disinherited “unknown children in the present and in the future from my estate.” While I can’t guarantee people won’t challenge the will, he has made it difficult for any person claiming to be an heir to inherit from the estate if this will is valid. For example, Anna Nicole Smith’s will provided for disinheritance of future born heirs in paragraph 6.2 of the will but that did not stop an effort to have her subsequently daughter inherit under the will. (It is also interesting to note that the no contest clause in paragraph 6.1 was not enforced. The will, in Article I, says that her son was her only child.) In Manson’s case, it appears a second will may be out there so there may be an interesting fight over which is really that last will of Charles Manson. If Prince had a will his estate would not have the multiple legal cases trying to determine heirs that have been discussed in a previous post on this blog. What is also interesting in the Manson will is the devise of intangible property rights. He devised rights to his music but also rights related to his image. In some states where the property rights of “celebrities” can be significant, some states allow the estate of the decedent to control the rights to their image and other celebrity rights. Apparently Mr. Mason was making money from his image while in prison and perhaps money will be made after his death. Such intangible rights can be significant and fought over by many parties. There are cases related to Marilyn Monroe and other celebrities over their intangible rights. So even though Mr. Manson was in prison for life, he still had an estate worth devising to a beneficiary. Even Charles Manson needed a will.

About Robert McLeod

I can help you fight a will, fight a power of attorney, will contest, fight a guardianship, fight a conservatorship, create or revoke powers of attorney, wills or revocable trusts. What is probate? I can answer that for you. I can help you with all your probate needs.
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