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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Charles Manson was a criminal in America who is commonly known as a cult leader. In the late 1960s he formed what many people knew as the Manson Family which was a quasi-commune located in California. In July and August of 1969 Manson’s followers committed a series of nine murders at his instructions. In 1971 Charles Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and the conspiracy to commit murder for the death of 7 people. Manson was sent to prison in April of 1971. Manson had several parole hearings during his lifetime but each time his petition for parole was rejected.

Manson died while incarcerated on November 19, 2017. According to My News, “a man who says Charles Manson is his father wants a Los Angeles judge to dismiss the claims of two others competing with him for probate of the estate of the late mass murderer.”

The report states that, “Michael Brunner, who lives in Wisconsin, says in papers filed March 1, 2018, in Los Angeles Superior Court that he doubts Jason Freeman is actually a grandson of Manson as Freeman claims. Freeman is seeking to have one of his lawyers, Dale Kiken, administer the Manson estate.”

According to the news report, “There is substantial reason to believe Jason Freeman is not an heir of decedent,” according to Brunner’s court papers, which further allege that the convicted killer denied any relationship with Freeman and that the two probably never even met. Brunner further states in his court papers that he is skeptical of Freeman’s claim that he is the son of the late Charles Manson Jr., who committed suicide in June 1993.

According to Brunner’s court papers, “Mr. Freeman is reported to have taken a DNA test with (Manson’s) son, Matthew Lentz, to determine if they were related, which results were negative.”

The news station reports that the other person seeking to probate the estate is former Manson pen pal Michael Channels, who along with Freeman is seeking to obtain control of the killer’s remains. Channels said he has a copy of Manson’s will. However, like Freeman, Brunner alleges the will is fraudulent, noting that Channels claims he was a witness to the signing of the will and that he is its sole beneficiary, creating a “presumption of duress, menace, fraud or undue influence.” under California law.

The legal battle and probate litigation that is surrounding Manson’s estate is just another example of how such legal battles can arise when there is no recognized and legitimate last will and testament. To avoid such costly fights Our advice and counsel to our client is that each of them prepare a thorough and complete estate plan which would include a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. An estate plan may also consists of certain trusts such as a minor’s trust or a special needs trust.


If you do not have an estate plan in place, we can help. When it comes to estate planning or probate you should never try to do it alone. If you have questions for yourself or for your family and loved ones, call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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