Where there’s a Will there’s a War.

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John and Lisa discuss what to learn about wills from the last person you may expect. The estate fight and a battle over the body and remains, and estate property of one Charles Manson.

John

Hi, welcome everybody, you're watching "Aging Insight" as we were arguing over how to run the computer system.

Lisa

Sorry. I know you turned it on.

John

I turned it on. All right we're about to go live on the radio, but we welcome all of our Facebook Live viewers, it should be an interesting show today, hope you enjoy it.

John

Welcome to "Aging Insight" everybody, this is your host, John Ross, here live in the studio. You're listening to the number one radio program dedicated to all of your estate planning, elder law, retirement, health, housing, financial, legal issues, within our listening area. We're definitely the number one program.

Lisa

Well, we're definitely the number one program, and I know that John because over the last couple of weeks, I have met lots of people that tell me they listen to the radio show.

John

Ain't that awesome?

Lisa

So I really enjoy, you know, when I'm visiting with someone maybe a client or even, you know, just someone I've met in community, and they tell me they listen, makes it all worth getting up here on Saturdays.

John

Yeah you know, because traditionally the thing about radio is we don't know who's listening out there.

Lisa

That's right we can't see you.

John

Unless of course, you give us a call because we are Live, and we do take calls if we could figure out how to work our equipment. And the phone number is 903-793-1071. But for the last several months we're also doing this simultaneously on Facebook Live. If you haven't already, get on Facebook, check out the Ross and Shoalmire Facebook page, or just search for John Ross in Texarkana, I always share it. So you can find us on the web, you can watch your radio Live.

Lisa

Yeah, that's right.

John

Right here on Facebook.

Lisa

Yeah that's right, watch us make radio.

John

Particularly with a topic like today which we'll get into in a little bit, but with a topic like today, we get to share photos and interesting pictures and stuff like that, which you're just not gonna get with a radio program.

Lisa

Yeah, right, you just have to imagine it.

John

That's right.

Lisa

If you're listening to us, but you know, also John I like to chase rabbits when I get on the Internet, you know. So today as we talk about our topic I know if I were watching the Facebook Live, I would be opening another tab and searching stuff and looking at everything because I'm just...that's the way I am.

John

Because that's how you are, yes.

Lisa

Well, of course, we are here on the radio and unlike Facebook, radio costs a bit of a coin.

John

Yes it does.

Lisa

To get on the radio. So we wanna say a special thanks to our sponsors, and to Edgewood Manor and the Barnette Agency, Dierksen Memorial Hospice, Cowhorn Creek Estates, CHRISTUS St. Michael, Texarkana Funeral Home, Red River Federal Credit Union, Heritage and Reunion Plazas, I'll give that a plural today, and the Twin City Rehab. We appreciate them, they help us pay the bills.

John

Yeah, no, that's right. And you know, I would say it was a busy week for both of us, I know I was in Canton on Monday speaking. I was in Longview on Thursday speaking.

Lisa

And I was in Paris, Texas on Wednesday and Thursday, and I did speak one of those days, but I visited with a lot of clients, because of course, if you listen to our radio advertisement you can hear that we have an office in Paris, Texas.

John

Yeah, crosstalk 04:02

Lisa

So I was over in Lamar County, couple days this week.

John

Yeah, and you know, we do a lot of that stuff, you know, at least for our Facebook viewers. Our radio show doesn't quite extend to Longview yet, but we do have some programs going on in Longview. We're having a open house down there at our Longview office celebrating our third year in business.

Lisa

That's coming up this Thursday, right, February 1st?

John

Yeah, that's coming up this Thursday.

Lisa

I will be at the Four States Fairground on Thursday.

John

Yes you will because...

Lisa

Yes, because I am talking to a group of farmers and ranchers and folks that are gonna be in town, I believe with the Arkansas Ag Extension Service. And they wanted me to come out and talk about the special concerns that farmers and ranchers and families have that are in that kind of business.

John

Yeah and you know, often you see...particularly with your agricultural situations, oftentimes you see a lot of wealth, but that wealth is tied to very illiquid assets.

Lisa

Yeah like dirt.

John

Like dirt.

Lisa

Or, you know, chicken houses.

John

Right. And in an estate planning context, in a long term care context, those can seriously be in jeopardy. So it's a good thing that you're going out and talking to them. I, that same night, will be the emcee for the annual Tri-state Alzheimer's Alliance Chili Supper.

Lisa

Yes, and that event is in Texarkana.

John

It is, that's in Texarkana, it's kind of on the one hand, you know, to support the Alzheimer's Alliance, but to be honest perfectly, primarily the reason we do the Chili Supper now...we've been doing it for years. But it's not our fundraiser, our fundraiser is the big twice as nice Texarkana Wine Festival, that's our big fundraiser.

Lisa

And that's the first Saturday of May.

John

And also one of the... Yeah of course...

Lisa

I mean, if we're gonna mention it we must as well plug it.

John

That's one of the largest festivals in Texarkana supporting the Alzheimer's Alliance. But we do the Chili Supper every year as a way to just kind of almost say thank you to everybody who supports that organization. And if you would like to support that organization, I do have some drawdown tickets available.

Lisa

Right, so those are...

John

Not very many though, we only do a limited number, and I think I'm down to maybe just a couple left.

Lisa

And those drawdown tickets essentially you throw in 100 bucks for our drawdown ticket, and you can split that up if you and your family, coworkers or somebody. We just need 100 bucks it gets you a ticket, I believe there are only 120 tickets sold.

Lisa

So that's $12,000 that comes in, and I believe what's the top prize payout, something like?

John

Yeah.

John

Top prize payout is about 5,000 bucks.

Lisa

Yes, so for $100 you get a one in 120 chance of winning $5,000. But John, I have to say, that my favorite thing about the Chili Supper is the chili.

John

Absolutely.

Lisa

And I'm not a big chili fan, so...

John

No, you're really not, which is almost un-American, but getting past that.

Lisa

Right, but the cooks that...and these of course, a lot of the gentlemen and supporters of the Alzheimer's Alliance they come out, spend all day cooking up that chili and it is good.

John

Yeah, they do a fantastic job, and beverages and desserts and all kinds of stuff.

Lisa

So I guess that's the question, can you come out to the Chili Supper without buying a drawdown?

John

No, that's the way you get in the door.

Lisa

Oh, I see. Well, I'm just saying it's worth it, that chili is worth it, it tastes good.

John

That's right, so if you want a drawdown ticket reach out to me separately maybe on Facebook or you can call our office on Monday, if I have any left by then, I'll be happy to sell you one. And if I'm out there might be one or two left out there, I'd have to reach out to some of the other board members. All right, well, we have a pretty interesting topic for you today.

Lisa

Yeah, it is interesting, so you know, John a lot of times we talk about legal stuff.

John

We do.

Lisa

And some of the rules, we think it's interesting but I know it can be a little dry but...

John

Yeah I had come up with a topic for today, a proposed topic, and it was gonna be a little dry.

Lisa

Okay. But then I blew you out of water...

John

Yes you did.

Lisa

Because for our listeners that also read the "Texarkana Gazette," if you read the "Texarkana Gazette" today on Saturdays edition, there was a little article in there about an estate fight and a battle over the body and remains, and estate property of one Charles Manson.

John

Yeah, who I think for most folks out there is going to be a household name.

Lisa

Yeah, unfortunately evil has a name and its name is Charles Manson.

John

Yes, it has been for a long time.

Lisa

Yes, since the early 70s.

John

Yup, but you know, kind of early on kind of a little I guess interesting history on who he was, was kind of active in the Los Angeles music scene.

Lisa

Yeah, no so you had the Dennis Wilson, Glen Campbell, all those people out there in Los Angeles in the late 60s, early 70s.

John

Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys?

Lisa

Yeah, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. Charles Manson was also in this crowd, and apparently a prolific songwriter, and not just a, you know, with a notebook piece of paper type of songwriter, but he actually sold a number of songs. Some of those songs were recorded by...one song was recorded by the Beach Boys. Can't remember the name of it at the moment, and then subsequently we've had other acts like Guns N' Roses, big act in the 80s.

John

Yeah, trying to be a part of the music scene and stuff. And I'm presuming was already crazy by this point.

Lisa

Yes.

John

He just hadn't let the crazy out.

Lisa

Well, he had a little bit because I think even by the time he was selling songs in Los Angeles he had already spent some time in jail in the California Penal Institutions. So I think there was already some crazy but it had not yet come to full flower, because it was after this time, after his involvement with the song, music industry in L.A. that he formed the cult that became known as the Manson family. And then of course, the rest of that story, the sad story is that the Manson's family devotees were found responsible for I believe seven deaths.

John

Clearly.

Lisa

Just keep up.

John

Clearly, I know, I'm already... I'm as entranced as our listeners.

Lisa

So Sharon Tate, beautiful blonde actress, model was killed by the Manson family cult followers along with three other people that were in her home that evening, and this is kind of what brought down...they connected it all to the Manson family. The Beatles wrote a song called, "Helter Skelter" that was kind of a take on this murder. But apparently Mr. Manson believed that there was going to be this apocalyptic war, and that these murders were going to be the catalyst to get that war started, so crazy.

Lisa

Lisa

He had such mind control.

John

Yes, he had such mind control that he basically instructed them to... And they were essentially following his bidding.

Lisa

Yes, so he finally gets tapped for all that, is imprisoned in California, he is given the death penalty, which you know, I don't know where ya'll listeners what you feel about the death penalty, but if there's ever a time to use it perhaps it's with Mr. Charles Manson, but California...

John

But unfortunately California.

Lisa

Yeah, unfortunately California. So after he was convicted, and after the death penalty was assessed against him, but before it was carried out, California invalidated the death penalty for any criminals in California. And so the taxpayers of California got the lovely gift of paying for Mr. Manson to live and breathe for the next 50-some odd years.

John

Yeah, so he's been in the can for a long time but eligible for parole on multiple occasions.

Lisa

Yeah, you know, even the crazies in California recognized that letting Manson loose on the streets was not a good idea.

John

And even while in prison, there were still folks out there that were kind of following him.

Lisa

Claiming he was innocent.

John

Claiming he was innocent, and still...

Lisa

Pen pals.

John

Yeah pen pals, and I guess the assassination attempt of Gerald Ford.

Lisa

Ah yes, so all of our listeners will know that... I can't remember whether it was Edith or Libby Fromme, she was a Manson cult family member and she attempted to assassinate Gerald Ford.

John

Well, trying to kill a president is a pretty crazy particularly big act but if that president is Gerald Ford it's like...

John

Right, and I mean, trying to kill...

Lisa

Presidents.

Lisa

I mean, he's just killing golf balls.

John

Yeah, it's like shooting your neighbor's Basset out.

Lisa

Right, so thankfully that assassination attempt was not successful. So Manson he was crazy, he was in jail for a long time, he died in 2017. And that, John, is where we are going to start our story today on "Aging Insight."

John

That's exactly right. So we're going to take a quick break and when we come back we're gonna talk more about the estate affairs of Manson, and we'll as always we'll kind of end this up with what you can learn about it, so stick around we'll be right back. And of course, we're still Live, so yeah, here's our boy Manson right there, yes.

Lisa

inaudible 15:45 .

John

There's our boy Manson with the swastika tattoo on the forehead.

Lisa

Yes, because apparently he thought the big war that was coming in 1970, was a race war. Now I don't know how he figured that the killing of Sharon Tate and Hollywood people were going to spark that war, but that was his thought.

John

Well, crazy is...

Lisa

And that's why the swastika I guess.

John

Yeah, crazy is as crazy does.

Lisa

There's no logic...

John

No, that's the whole thing about crazy, it don't matter it's just crazy. Yeah, no, and you know, when you spend that much time in prison it's not like you're accumulating a lot of assets.

Lisa

Right. I mean, you know, you're not working, you know, so you're not accumulating assets based on your sweat and efforts. So I mean, you know, what does he have? Some clothes, some note books, some...

John

You know, a lot of times I'll talk to folks, I'll go out and give speeches and stuff, and we'll talk about, you know, we'll talk about estate planning and stuff. And it's pretty common for somebody to say, "You know what? I ain't got enough to worry about." You know, and certainly...

Lisa

Yeah, "Nobody's gonna fight over my stuff because I'm too poor."

John

Right, and certainly you would think somebody who...

Lisa

Spent.

John

...fifty years...

Lisa

Decades.

John

Yeah 60 years in prison certainly wouldn't have anything to worry about or argue about, and yet...

Lisa

And yet.

John

And yet here we are, like any gutter SP estate there will be arguments.

Lisa

Well, and they used to say very...I guess like...what's the word? I mean, Manson he's very...a lot of notoriety, I guess.

John

A lot of notoriety.

Lisa

But you know, he's dead, so what's that gonna do you now.

John

Yeah, you certainly wouldn't think it would do much good. But yeah, there's always an...I mean, even in our own practice, you know, we have had folks who have gone so far as to get into actual physical fights over stuff like the deer meat in the freezer, a ball cap that belonged to their daddy, all kinds of stuff.

Lisa

And I know earlier I guess a few months ago we talked about the Hugh Hefner estate, so something about these notorious folks.

John

Well, first of all, they're a little bit interesting, plus you can always learn so much from them. All right, well, we're about to go Live, so stick with us, got about five seconds left.

Lisa

Welcome back everyone to "Aging Insight," this is Lisa Shoalmire, I'm here Live with you on this Saturday afternoon here with John Ross. We are Elder Law Attorneys here in the Four States region, and today we are talking about; thankfully, a person who did not reside in the Four States area, California can keep him. But we're talking about Charles Manson today, and I know some of you who may have just turned in may think, "Well goodness, what does that have to do with anything..."

John

Yeah, "What in the world does that have to do with Aging Insight?" Well, like in so many other situations when somebody dies there's opportunity for a fight.

Lisa

Right, so Manson spent five-plus decades in the California Prison, he came up for parole a number of times but they never did parole him. He died I believe he was 83, 84, or something like that. He died and there are now fights going on in the California courts, particularly in the Los Angeles district over his body, first of all.

John

Yeah, I mean, there's plenty of fights to come in fact, but we're just now starting the fight over the body.

Lisa

Yeah, so apparently Manson died in a Bakersfield California hospital, which is a different county than where he lived in prison.

John

Which is a different county than where he lived prior to going to prison.

Lisa

Right, so one of the questions, the very first question always people are fighting about is what court is going to decide these issues. And John, I don't even have the first clue in California how that goes, but it just goes to show that you can fight over things that just even seem to be irrelevant to the estate.

John

Right, although you know, again, even in our personal practice, I know we've had the battle over the body.

Lisa

We have.

John

On a couple of occasions.

Lisa

It seems like one of those occasions we ended up having to get a restraining order and serve it on one of our sponsors and advertisers...

John

We did.

Lisa

Not that they did anything wrong.

John

They didn't do anything wrong but we had to stop the funeral before they interred the body. And that was a particularly interesting situation which we could go into another time. But, I guess probably one of the additional points on this is, you know, so often you will see people put in a Will, right, they'll have a will and...

Lisa

After a Christian like burial...

John

And then, yeah, it will say something like, you know, my first instructions are that I have a Christian like burial or...

Lisa

Or that I wanna be cremated.

John

Or that I wanna be cremated, but they're putting their burial wishers into a last Will and testament.

Lisa

And that document is not going to see the light of day or be legally declared valid for weeks after you die.

John

Right again, remember a unprobated Will is a useless unenforceable piece of paper that does nobody any good whatsoever. So putting burial instructions into a Will that on a good day, would take 10 to 14 days following the date of death before it would even become enforceable, that's a lot of time for you to be...

Lisa

On ice.

Lisa

Lisa

Just like Charles Manson is right now.

John

Just like Charles Manson is, so the first thing we can learn from the estate of Charles Manson is don't put your burial instructions in your Will.

Lisa

Yeah, and if you know there's going to be a problem, you know, do some specific burial instructions in a document that can be immediately dealt with at the funeral home, or the people who are gonna have your body. In Texas we call that a statement about your disposition of remains, it is a separate document from your Will. So yeah, lesson number one, don't rely on your Will to carry out your burial wishes.

John

That's right, so we have to take our bottom of the hour newsbreak. We appreciate all of ya'll listening, hope you'll come back with us for more about the Manson estate, stick around.

John

Right, and of course, we're still Live on Facebook, so we'll give ya'll the... What was the radio show? Paul Harvey, we'll give you the rest of the story. We had a man, he had a couple of kids, the man was from the Northeast.

Lisa

Yeah, Pennsylvania.

John

All of his kids were from the north, bunch of Yankees; he had one daughter that had been kind of on the outs.

Lisa

Yes, and that was actually a half daughter, I mean, it was his daughter but he was not... Anyway, and she lived in our area here in Texas.

John

Yes.

Lisa

And as this gentleman got older and sicker he decided he wanted to visit, you know, his daughter here in Texas, you know, make amends, that kind of thing. Well, he came to Texas for a visit and during his visit, John, as I recall this daughter took him to an attorney and had him execute a power of attorney in her favor. I think had him make...perhaps even execute a Will in her favor.

John

Yeah, cut off all contact.

Lisa

Yeah, cut off contact with his other children up in Pennsylvania and...

John

Then because of his age and stage although he was able to travel he was not really able to get around on his own, he needed a significant amount of assistance.

Lisa

And then after a couple weeks here visiting getting all that paperwork done he died here in Texas.

John

That's right.

Lisa

And when he died the daughter here did not immediately inform the family up in Pennsylvania, but I don't remember how it came about that they came to know that their father had passed. But the daughter here in Texas instituted and commenced funeral and burial arrangements here in Texas to bury him at a local Texas cemetery. And I believe he had two or three children in the northeast up in Pennsylvania, and they ended up...the kids in Pennsylvania hired us to dispute the burial of this man here in Texas. And you have to work fast when it comes to a burial situation.

John

Yeah, certainly.

Lisa

And whenever you say you have to work fast in a legal environment, you have to get restraining orders to stop burials and funerals, you just need to think about cha-ching because it was quite costly as I recall for both families...

John

Yes, it was.

Lisa

...to deal with this, and John, the court did in fact issue a restraining order to stop that burial, and then held a hearing within a day or two. And the court heard all the evidence including this gentleman's pre-plans that he had already done up in Pennsylvania, he had a burial plot, he had a funeral contract, and despite the documents that the daughter in Texas had assisted the gentleman with completing while he was here, the judge found that the gentleman intended to be buried in Pennsylvania. But you know, tens of hours, thousands of dollars, I bet that family didn't exchange Christmas cards the next year either.

John

Probably not, that probably was the end of that. All right, well, we are coming back from our news break on the radio portion of "Aging Insight." And again, appreciate our viewers sticking with us. All right, I'll let ya'll listen to our intro music here.

John

Well, welcome back to "Aging Insight" everybody, this is your host John Ross here Live in the studio, and we are Live, so if you have a question or comment you can always give us a call. The phone number is 903-793-1071, it's 903-793-1071. And today, we're learning some lessons from somebody that you would never think you would learn a lesson from, other than how not to do stuff.

Lisa

Right, so today we're talking about Charles Manson the known serial killer, and who died in a California prison in 2017. And now there is a big battle brewing over both his remains which are currently still in refrigeration with the...I believe, I don't know, Los Angeles coroner, or someplace over there in California, have not yet been disposed of. Also there is a battle over who the proper heirs of his estate are, and whether or not he had a valid Will. And so John, I see this battle going on for a while but I guess...

John

Yeah, I do too.

Lisa

One of the questions is, Charles Manson, does he have a valid Will? Why in the world... I mean, he's been in prison, it's not like he can go down to his corner attorney's office and just have one drawn up. So what's the story there?

John

Right, you know, there's lots of ways you can make a Will.

Lisa

Sure, and in Texas you can do one completely in your own handwriting...

John

That's right.

Lisa

No witness is required.

John

No witness is required, so what's called a holographic Will, just has to be entirely in your handwriting and signed.

Lisa

We don't have one of those exactly in the Manson case.

John

No, what we do have is a 2012 maybe I believe, is a 2000...

Lisa

2000...there's a couple of different Wills actually, there's a 2002 Will.

John

2002, that's what I was thinking, not 2012. There's a 2002 Will, which if you're watching on Facebook I'm going to show right now, there it is. That's the actual copy of the 2002 Will, this is a typewritten instrument, as I understand it California law is much the same as it would be in both Texas and Arkansas, that if the Will is not entirely in your own handwriting it must have at least two, "Disinterested witnesses."

Lisa

And disinterested is one of those legal words John, that means if you're going to witness someone's Will you shall not be a beneficiary of said Will. So you are disinterested, you know, we don't want people witnessing Wills to which they receive a share of the estate, because maybe that would inspire them to hurry up the demise of the testator. So disinterested witnesses are people who do not receive anything under the Will.

John

Yeah, and this particular 2002 Will, it was...actually, this was part of...there's a guy out there and his name is also...it's also Charles, I guess.

Lisa

Charles Channel.

John

No, Michael Channels.

Lisa

Michael Channels.

John

Michael Channels.

Lisa

All right, so Michael Channels, he had pursued a pen pal relationship there with Charles Manson, and apparently he had written over 50 letters in prison before Manson ever responded. But then Manson did respond and they struck up a correspondence.

John

And this Michael Channels person here, he's a collector of what's called murder abilia.

Lisa

Murderbilia.

John

Murderbilia.

Lisa

You know so it's memorabilia but instead of the good positive line, the slang murderbilia means that you're kind of weird, and you like to collect things that have been in the possession of, or somehow connected to mass murder serial killers.

John

Yeah, and there is a market out there for such items.

Lisa

Yeah.

John

As creepy and weird as that is, there is a market for such things.

Lisa

Yeah, apparently just last year or so, a bed frame that was connected to one of Charles Manson's murders just a bed frame sold for $14,000 at auction, because it had that Manson murder connection. I mean, what kind of sick world do we live in?

John

No, that's exactly right, at our office in Texarkana and this is not some something we keep in a back room, but I had gone to a garage sale one day, and this was when my kids were very young. And there's this painting of Mickey Mouse.

Lisa

Yeah, I know the one you're talking about.

John

And so I...

Lisa

That got Mickey and Minnie on the dance board.

John

Mickey and Minnie. And there was this nice lady that was having this garage sale and she was a retired lady. And in her retirement she did a prison ministry which I only found this out later. But I'm at the garage sale I see this painting of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, I pick it up, I ask her how much she wants for it. She wants a quarter.

Lisa

That's a garage sale find right there.

John

That's a steal and it's a cute little picture, so I give her my quarter and I figure, hey, I've just gotten my two little girls a Minnie and Mickey Mouse painting, and it was clearly hand painted.

Lisa

Yeah, so cute.

John

I get home and I'm looking at the painting and it's got some initials from the artist, and on the back of it it's got some handwritten information about the artist, the artist name, and it and says a guy named Randle Robinson, and then it has an address McAlester, Oklahoma. And then it says OSPDR McAlester, Oklahoma, OSPDR. And I thought about it, and I thought about this lady having her prison ministry, and I thought about what I know about McAlester, Oklahoma, and all of a sudden it kinda dawned on me that that was probably Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Lisa

crosstalk 33:52 ...

John

And the DR, Death row...

Lisa

Death row, nice.

John

And sure enough, this painting was done by one of the first people executed by the electric chair after the death penalty was reinstated in Oklahoma.

Lisa

So you are an inadvertent crosstalk 34:13 ...

John

Yes, I'm an inadvertent collector, and I have never tried to sell it, I stuck it in the back room.

Lisa

Just stay in the backroom.

John

It stays in the back room, but I do have this thing and I guess there are probably...there may be a market for such a thing out there as... Now of course, that's not a famous one like Charles Manson.

Lisa

Right, and I guess that's the deal is Charles Manson, you know, spent all these decades in prison he's not accumulating any assets, but because of this crazy black market for murderbilia, you know, all of his possessions no matter how meager they may be stand to go for thousands of dollars. And according to what I read, John, his possessions at this point really consist of a couple of guitars, some notebooks, some clothes, you know, just the little things.

John

Some writings and stuff like that. But you know, we mentioned earlier like the fact that he coauthored one of the Beach Boys hits.

Lisa

Yes, and so he's got all of this, what we will call intellectual property.

John

Right, even a song apparently recorded by Guns N' Roses was written by Charles Manson.

Lisa

Yes, and of course all of these songs...and he also did recordings before he got put in the slammer for decades. Apparently he and some of his cult followers actually did do record some of his own songs so there are recordings out there. And so there is a potential for these assets, these songs that are written, that are recorded, these recordings, his guitars, his clothes, that you know, essentially they can be sold off for thousands and thousands of dollars.

John

Right, and it's clear this Michael Channels person he wanted this stuff, he made the contacts with Manson and...

Lisa

Pursued it.

John

...pursued it, eventually ended up meeting with him in prison, and shortly after that he received in the mail what purports to be a last Will and testament by Charles Manson, that is signed by Manson, does have a witness. And then I guess this Michael guy signed it too.

Lisa

Right, so the typewritten Will that Channels received in the mail he said it was a surprise that he received, it was typewritten, signed by Manson, signed by one witness. And now there's a big dispute over whether or not...since the Will has to be signed by two witnesses at the same time the testator signs the Will, there's a big dispute of was Channels there when Manson signed it, and therefore was the second witness, even though he is interested because he is a beneficiary under that Will. Or is it an invalid Will because it was signed by Manson and only one witness. So that's a dispute with the court.

John

And apparently in California there is some indication that an interested witness can still be considered a witness under certain circumstances. I don't think that would actually be the case in... I know in Texas if you are a interested witness you can still be considered a witness...

Lisa

But you forfeit your interest.

John

But you forfeit any interest you would have received under the document.

Lisa

So, well okay, there's one Will and one controversy, but I guess it's time to take another break and we'll come back and talk about a few others though with murderer Charles Manson.

John

All right stick around. Yeah, so there's... And I guess he does have kids.

Lisa

Well, yeah, we haven't got to that yet.

John

No, I'm just talking to Facebook people. But you know we have potential areas...

Lisa

He's got one kid or a grandchild.

John

Right, he had a child.

Lisa

He had a son Charles Manson Junior and he committed suicide.

John

Who committed suicide.

Lisa

Changed his name and then still committed suicide, anyway, so he's got this grandson. And then there's another kid that's come up saying that he was the illegitimate child, so that's gonna be an issue.

John

Yeah, so you know, I would say that we often talk about...and we may mention this, but we often talk about the fact that if it comes down to dying with a Will, dying without a Will, or dying with some piece of crap that you drafted yourself, die without one. I'd rather you have no Will at all than a piece of crap, it's just no...there's no doubt about it. Just either do it right or don't do it, it's that simple.

Lisa

Yeah, got a few seconds...I had a Will where a doctor did his own Will, John, and doctors may know a lot about medicine but they often don't know anything about law, and the Will was so badly worded it was very confusing, could be interpreted different ways. When the family brought it to me and I said, well, this is going to be a problem, it's gonna cost a lot to get this figured out. They weren't too happy. Because their loved one tried to save, you know, a couple hundred bucks.

John

And cost thousands.

Lisa

By doing his own Will, yeah.

John

All right, we're going back Live.

Lisa

Welcome back everyone to our final segment today, of "Aging Insight," I'm Lisa Shoalmire, I'm here Live in the studio with John Ross, and Live on Facebook. Also with John Ross I see you there.

John

Yeah, here I am.

Lisa

And today we are taking some lessons from the Charles Manson estate. So John, just to recap, first lesson is if you have some specific instructions about burial, you know, make sure you get the proper documentation and the people to handle that. Because your Will is not the place to put burial instructions.

John

That's correct.

Lisa

Also, if you do a Will make sure it is done correctly so... And the last thing that we talked about in 2002, Manson purportedly signed a typewritten Will that was witnessed by one witness, that he sent in mail to a chum, a pen pal by the name of Michael Channels. And the Will purports to give his property and everything to Mr. Channels, who was quite the murderbilia collector. But that's not the only Will Mr. Manson had apparently, he had another Will that was done in 2012, or 2014, something like that. And it purports to be a completely handwritten Will...I get to use that word purport today a lot.

John

You do, that's exactly right.

Lisa

Like allegedly when you're talking about crime. Anyway, but this Mr. Channels was not a family member of Mr. Manson, there's no question about that. But there's two other parties in the fight over Mansion's remains, and Manson's property, and those include one a grandson which no one questions the relation of his grandson.

John

Right, everybody knows he did have...Charles Manson did have a child Charles Manson Junior, who both changed his name...

Lisa

Yeah, who would wanna be called Charles Manson Junior?

John

Right, and then eventually committed suicide.

Lisa

Right, so his son is deceased but his son did have an heir, his grandson. So we have a grandson involved, and we also have a man who claims to be an illegitimate son.

John

Yeah, a Matt Lance, SP claims he's the biological son of Manson given up for adoption as a newborn.

Lisa

Yeah, he said that his mother met Mr. Manson...his mother was a member of the cult but before they started murdering people. But that Manson allegedly raped his mother, so I use allegedly there, and his mother left the cult after the rape, went home to her parents in the Midwest where she had the baby. It was a baby boy and then promptly gave him up for adoption. And so now Mr. Lance is claiming to be the biological son of Charles Manson, and that he claims that he should have the right to dispose of the body and to the property of the estate.

John

Yeah, and I mean, God there are so many different things in all of this. And first of all, you know, again, we have seen people's families torn apart after the death of a loved one over nothing. You know, certainly things of very limited value, and that's unfortunate. And so often, if for example, you have died and your family is being torn apart over your estate, nine times out of 10 that was your fault.

Lisa

You're just gonna say it, you're gonna get some tough love on crosstalk 44:02 ...

John

I'm gonna give you some tough love and say it was your fault because of poor planning and trying to...you know, like this... I mean, this Michael...

Lisa

Channels.

John

...Channels guy, I mean, surely he's got to know that with the kind of notoriety that Charles Manson has...

Lisa

Which he's trying to capitalize on.

John

Which he's trying to capitalize on, that even if he got this Will from Manson, and it really was a "surprise" as if any of us are supposed to believe that. But even if that were the case, surely he would have taken that to somebody and said, "Hey, is this a valid Will?" So that they could go, "No, this is a piece of junk. And if you would like me to prepare a valid one..." you know, I just had a client that had a family member that was in prison, that we needed to get some stuff signed.

Lisa

Yeah, you can get stuff signed properly in a prison.

John

Yes, it can happen. And so the whole idea here...and even beyond that, so once you're going in and you think, "Okay, well, I'm gonna do some stuff right." You have to think through. Like in this case, where we have somebody pop up out of nowhere that's claiming to be a child. Again, this isn't Lisa, nice first rodeo.

Lisa

It happens.

John

We've had both...we've had these situations as well. This is why often if you look at the documents that we prepare we'll often put a phrase in there that will say something like, you know, "I have two children, you know, Becky and Bobby. And hereafter throughout this Will where I refer to the terms child, children or descendants I am referring only to Becky and Bobby and not any other children born to or adopted by me past, present, or future."

Lisa

So that just cuts out any potential claim of a surprise child.

John

Right and it's not...

Lisa

Usually not a problem for ladies.

John

Usually not a problem for the ladies, but you know, the whole thing is, is we're trying to close those doors that's where you can learn from things like this where you see, okay, yeah we've got poorly drafted Will because they didn't even look at some of the basic requirements. And you know, in prison there was probably a...

Lisa

There is a prison law library.

John

There is a prison law library and probably a couple of prisoners who were probably lawyers in there that...

Lisa

Yeah, probably.

John

...probably kind of act as the pro bono legal service for all the other inmates.

Lisa

And I'm not really crying for any of these people for doing it wrong, but...

Lisa

...you can take some lessons nonetheless. And John, I know some of your listeners when you said nine out of 10 times if your family is fighting over your estate then it's your fault. I know there's a listener out there thinking, "Oh, but you haven't met my daughter Barbara, yeah, Barbara is the troublemaker and she's gonna cause trouble no matter what and I can't do anything about it." But the reality is you can.

John

No I'm not either.

John

Absolutely.

Lisa

And make it very painless and efficient for your estate and for your other children but you gotta tell me about it. You know, it's not the time to think, "Oh, I have four great kids," and forget to tell me how awful Barbara is.

John

Right. And it's not like...you know, I mean, often we will get the comment of how can I prevent somebody from contesting this? Well, you can't.

Lisa

Right, anybody who wants to with, you know, a few hundred bucks or like in the Manson case several thousands of dollars these people are spending, but...

John

But yeah, if you've got $300 you can go file anything you want at the new Boston courthouse.

Lisa

Miller County it's only 180 bucks.

John

That's right, for half the cost you can go over to Miller County side and file anything you want. And so, no, you can never prevent somebody from contesting, but what you can do is try your best to make it as...

Lisa

Painful.

John

...as painful...

Lisa

Expensive

John

...painful and expensive for them to contest it, that's exactly right, what you want is you want them to end up in a lawyer's office, where the lawyer looks at all the stuff and says, "Well, you know, I could file a contest on this, but you're going to have to pay me thousands and thousands of dollars and you're most likely going to lose in the end."

Lisa

And if that client sitting across from that lawyer says, "I don't care it's about the principle of the matter." Then that lawyer is thinking...they're planning their summer vacation on that client's retainer.

John

That's exactly right. And so when I say nine out of 10, that's probably the one, right, that's the one. But that is very unusual, and so you can make it... While you can't prohibit people by doing it right and anticipating things like fights over burial, fights over assets, fights over the validity of your documents, fights over who your heirs are. All of these sort of fights, you can plan for these sort of things and address them on the front end.

Lisa

Yeah, so I figure you know, kind of jumping back to the Manson deal, John, I figured Charlie Manson he was just busy manipulating people like he's been doing for decades.

John

Well, that's probably right, and you know what? He may be basically abusing these people now from the grave.

Lisa

And as they were trying to abuse him. So yeah, one person who's not jumped in the fray in that Manson deal was apparently he had a fiancée for a period of time, he broke off the engagement allegedly when her plans that she was going to exhibit his corpse for money after he died. So you know, sometimes when you live an evil life then, you know, there is no peace and people just do evil to you, beyond. That's my moral of the story today.

John

So lots of stuff to have learned from Charles Manson.

Lisa

Because I remember we talked about Hugh Hefner, we talked about how he did it right?

John

Yeah, Hugh did it right, had great estate planning, took care of everybody, did it all right, communicated it correctly, had it all professionally done. And I guarantee if there was gonna have been a fight over an estate surely it would have been Hugh's.

Lisa

And surely there would have been, you know, pop up kids or something.

John

Right, but no, did it right.

Lisa

Well, all right, well, so for those of you who've listened today, you know, you didn't think you're gonna get an hour on Charles Manson, but hey, lessons can be found, we just have to look for them. So we're gonna have another shout out, and another thanks to our sponsors today, Edgewood Manor, The Barnette Agency, Dierksen Memorial Hospice, CHRISTUS St. Michael, Texarkana Funeral Home, who you know, will assist with funerals and stop them if the court tells them to, appreciate that. Red River Federal Credit Union, Heritage and Reunion Plaza, and Twin City Rehab. If you do business with any of these people, please let them know that you appreciate their sponsorship of "Aging Insight" because you know, John, they don't have to sponsor us.

John

No, that's certainly right, they don't.

Lisa

But when they hear from people that you like it they keep sponsoring us, so we like that.

John

That's right that keeps us on the radio, keeps us doing good for all of y'all. We appreciate you all listening, it's always a pleasure to come up here and do it. We will of course, probably be back next weekend.

Lisa

Yeah, we'll be here next Saturday.

Lisa

Yeah, I don't know. Well, I hope you learned a little something today and that you passed an hour of being educated and entertained.

John

Yeah, with another topic probably something not quite as dirty and ugly as talking about Charles Manson.

John

That's right, so thanks again for listening, we will be back next weekend, have a good one.

Lisa

Thanks so much, bye-bye.

John

And of course, thanks to all of y'all who are watching the Facebook Live we appreciate that as well, see you.

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