Monday, July 6, 2009

Michael Jackson's Estate and Estate Planning (press item)

Recently quoted in the press on Michael Jackson's estate, will/trust, and creditor and child custody issues:
Though Michael Jackson’s body isn't in the ground yet, speculation is running rampant as to what will happen to his financial assets. Many suspect that legions of those only tangentially connected to the pop star are already sharpening their knives for their shares of the possible profits.

"There are a lot of dark characters that are going to try to make a buck out of this because Michael Jackson, unfortunately, is such a polarizing figure and his name is greater than any individual’s name on earth," said Aphrodite Jones, author of "The Michael Jackson Conspiracy."

"That being the case, everyone and anyone during his life tried to make money any way they could, and I don’t think that will end because of his death," Jones explains. "You think about Elvis Presley and all of the people who have made livings as impersonators and the Graceland tours, etc. — that’s nothing compared to what we’re going to see here."

As far as legal entitlements, Jackson's assets are undercut by the $400 million in debt that the pop star left behind.

Jonas M. Grant, an entertainment lawyer in Burbank, Calif., explains. "In general, creditors get the first crack at the contents of a deceased’s estate," he said.

Entertainment lawyer Jonas M. Grant says the mother of two of Jackson's children, Debbie Rowe, will likely get custody of those children and their inheritance. "[She] will benefit financially indirectly even if she is not named as a direct beneficiary of his estate, which she also may well be."
Vultures set to profit off of Jackson’s death: Skeptics say those who exploited him in life ready to strike again, Heidi Patalano, Metro International, June 29, 2009

Update: When quoted for the above news article, I didn't have the benefit of reviewing Michael Jackson's purported last will, which can be seen below, and is a pour-over will, essentially directing that all of his property not already titled to the "Michael Jackson Family Trust" be added to that trust, for distribution to the beneficiaries named in that trust:

Michael Jackson's Will - full screen (new window)

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