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Inside The Battle Raging Over The Estate of Charles Manson

Almost two months after his death, Charles Manson's body remains in limbo as an unusual legal battle heats up over control of — and the potential to profit from — his estate.    Charles Manson

This of course raises questions. Why would anyone bother to fight over the estate of a man who spent almost five decades in prison?  Even if he was one of the most infamous serial killers of all time, what could there be worth fighting over? 

And if there is money to be had, how could someone claim profits generated by a man who became famous for committing profound acts of evil, and still sleep comfortably at night?

Those questions don't seem to be slowing down three combatants vying for control of the Charles Manson estate and legacy.  An avid collector of Manson memorabilia, named Michael Channels, became pen pals with Manson after sending him about 50 letters, leading to a meeting in prison in 2002.  Manson then wrote and signed a purported will, naming Channels as his executor, authorizing his body to be released to Channels, and bequeathing all of this property to Channels.

This 2002 will specifically directed that Channels was to receive all of Manson's music and royalty rights to the songs Manson wrote, as well as his image and publishing rights.  That same will specifically disinherited anyone claiming to be a child of Charles Manson and all other relatives.

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Should Caregiver of Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, Inherit His Fortune?

Widely beloved throughout the world of baseball, especially in Chicago, Ernie Banks -- a/k/a Mr. Cub -- rose from humble beginnings.  He began his career earning seven dollars a day in the Negro Leagues, before crossing the color barrier and becoming the Chicago Cubs’ most popular player ever.  Ernie Banks

After his playing career, Banks has been widely respected as a positive role model in baseball and beyond.  He continued to break new ground, becoming the first African-American Ford Motor Company dealer ever and being actively involved in charity work throughout his life after baseball.  In 2013, President Obama awarded Banks the National Congressional Medal of Honor.

Ernie Banks died on January 23rd at age 83 from a heart condition.  Interestingly, his death certificate listed dementia as a "significant condition contributing" to his death.  Why is this important?

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The Tragic Life and Death of The Daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Conrad Hilton, Francesca Hilton

Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches tale.  But Francesca Gabor Hilton’s life followed a dramatically different path.  Born to Hollywood star Zsa Zsa Gabor, and founder of the famed Hilton hotel dynasty, Conrad Hilton, Francesca was raised living in mansions, attending celebrity parties, earning blue ribbons in horse-riding competitions, and jet-setting to Rome and Paris, among other fashionable cities.  But her life was not as idyllic as it seemed.  Zsa-Zsa-Gabor-and-Francesca-Hilton1-300x242

Zsa Zsa Gabor wrote in her autobiography that Francesca was born following a pregnancy that resulted from rape by Conrad Hilton, her husband at the time.  The couple divorced before Francesca was born.  Francesca told the Los Angeles Times in 2007 that she spent Christmases and occasional upscale lunches with her father.  But their relationship was never close. When Conrad died in 1979, he left his only daughter $100,000 out of his estate, with most of the wealth earmarked for charity.  That doesn’t sound too bad, except that Conrad Hilton’s estate was worth about $200 million at the time, including massive Hilton Hotel stock interests.

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Top 10 Celebrity Stories To Spark Holiday Estate Planning Conversations

Sure the holidays are a fun time for families to sit around talking about what happened on the latest episode of The Walking Dead or how granddaughter Mary is doing in dance class.  But they are also a great time to have the important -- yet often difficult -- conversations about estate planning.  What happens when Mom dies?  Does anyone know where Dad kept his will?  Did they ever transfer the investment accounts into their revocable living trust like they were supposed to?   Walking dead

Many families don't ask these tough questions ... especially when dynamics are strained, like in many second-marriage families or when siblings don't get along well.  It certainly isn't easy to blurt out after passing the gravy, "Hey Dad, does your will put me or your wife in charge of your estate?"

But these conversations are important.  When the proper estate planning isn't done, it's the family members left behind who pay the price, often with bitter, ugly, and costly probate court battles.  They happen to families all across the country on a daily basis, from those of modest wealth to the very rich.

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Dispute Over Where To Bury Casey Kasem Teaches Lesson

The famed American Top 40 Countdown DJ passed away in June, at age 82, with a host of medical problems including advanced Lewy Body dementia.  Now, almost four months later, Casey Kasem’s remains still have not been laid to rest.  Casey and Jean Kasem

It’s a tragic story of a feuding family.  And unfortunately, it’s one that won’t likely end any time soon.

Kasem’s wife of more than 30 years, Jean Kasem, wasn’t exactly close with his three adult children from his first marriage.  In fact, Casey’s daughter Kerri Kasem recently said in an interview with Howard Stern that Jean Kasem didn’t like her or her siblings since the time that Kerri was just nine years old.   According to Kerri, Jean would even invent bad deeds that she told Casey the children had done so he would be mad at them.

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Will Nelson Mandela's Heirs Tarnish His Legacy Through Greed And Fighting?

Nelson Mandela left behind an unparalleled legacy of peace, dignity, and selflessness.  If early reports are accurate, some of  his children and grandchildren don't exactly subscribe to the same value system.   When you think of the man who spent 27 years in jail to bring down apartheid, do you think of clothing lines, reality TV shows, or a wine label?  Probably not.  But those are a few of the ways that Mandela's heirs have used his name to profit.  Nelson_Mandela-2008

So perhaps it was no surprise that his children and grandchildren began fighting, even before the South African champion of equal rights passed.  Mandela's eldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, was accused of shady maneuvering, hoping to make his gravesite into a profitable tourist attraction.  This summer, the New York Times reported that Mandla was sued by other Mandela family members because he felt, as the eldest grandchild, he should decide where Nelson Mandela should be laid to rest.

The problem?  Mandla's dream of a tourist site built around the body of his grandfather wasn't what Nelson Mandela wanted.  In 1996, Mandela created a hand-written will saying he wanted to be buried in his ancestral home, the remote village of Qunu.   Three of his children had died before him and were already buried there ... that is, they were until Mandla decided to uproot them and move them to another village, Mvezo, so he could create a Mandela family burial site. Other family members successfully sued Mandla, forcing the bodies to be returned to Qunu, so that Mandela's wishes could be fulfilled.


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Court Ruling Finally Allows Body of Late Jefferson Star To "Move On Up"

One could only imagine what George Jefferson — the wise-cracking character who was “movin’ on up” on the 1970′s TV hit, The Jeffersons — would have said about this predicament.  The body of actor Sherman Hemsley, who played George Jefferson, has been kept on ice for the last 3 1/2 months.  His remains have been refrigerated since he passed away from lung cancer on July 24, 2012, at the age of 74.  Sherman Hemsley

Why?  It’s all because a man claiming to be his half-brother challenged the validity of Hemsley’s will in court.  Hemsley’s will — created a mere 6 weeks before he died — left everything to his former business manager and close friend, Flora Enchinton.  Sherman Hemsley had no other family members alive.  Estate records show the value of his estate at around $50,000.

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