Michael Jackson Estate Fiasco

Celebrity, Wills & estate planning

Michael JacksonThe Michael Jackson estate fiasco, which has been playing out in the press since he died three years ago, has put his family in turmoil on a grand scale. There has been fighting amongst  Michael’s siblings, his mother, and the attorneys. His children seemed to be involved in some wretched game of  tug-of-war  and the court seems to be patching holes on a daily basis. While all of this chaos feeds the press and gives us all something interesting to talk about, it’s actually not so different from what many families—with significantly less wealth—experience each year, outside the peering eyes of a curious public. Unfortunately, the drama associated with such messes has devastating repercussions on the health and well being of all involved.

Jackson Had Best Laid Plans

While tools such as a last will and testament and a family trust—both of which Mr. Jackson had foresight to employ—usually protect families, this celebrity estate is just too massive and the characters too dynamic for the best legal documents to work without a fight.

Michael Jackson left money to his children, mother,  and 20 percent to charities which benefit children. He left his mother in control of his children and left his attorneys in charge of managing his image, holdings, and future projects.

While there are nasty things being said about Michael’s attorneys, the way his mother is  raising the children, and Michael’s brothers and sisters, the will was filed three years ago, and the time to contest it  has long expired. The court will inevitably be dealing with the family drama until Michael’s youngest son, Blanket, is a grown man.

King of Estates

Estates of deceased celebrities, like Michael Jackson, amass hundreds of millions of dollars a year after they die. Michael’s celebrity makes his estate the “King of Estates.” While in debt at his passing, his music and holdings have grown astronomically. Under the management of experts, the estate is expected to continue growing, well past $1 billion. The attorneys are receiving and will continue to receive huge amounts of money to manage and control the business which Michael Jackson has left them in charge of. Just think of all of the interests they are responsible for growing and controlling.

Family Feud

Despite sharing his wealth during his life with his entire family, Michael left his sisters and brothers completely out of his last wishes. Typically, siblings wouldn’t expect an inheritance from a brother, who left behind children of his own, but this case isn’t typical. Michael’s mother and children are receiving huge monthly amounts for health, education, and support—but why shouldn’t they? They’re the children of Michael Jackson, King of Pop, owner of Neverland. The children, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (known as Prince), Paris-Michael Katherine, and Prince Michael II (know as Blanket), will inherit unfathomable amounts of money, incrementally, as they get older.

This situation has to be difficult for Mr. Jackson’s less famous and less fortunate brothers and sisters. If you think sibling rivalry is bad in your family, just think of the emotions tied up in this family. Can you imagine the dialogue and tension? After years hearing private discussions of this nature, in far smaller estates, I believe the private dialogue amongst this family goes something like this: “These kids are getting what each year? Mom is getting what? What did they do to deserve all of this money? We helped Michael. We made him what he was. Without us he wouldn’t have ever worn that glove or moonwalked or sang .” There are so many emotions involved. Even if the family professes that it’s all about the kids, it can’t be. It doesn’t have to make sense; the Ultra Green Monster of Envy is out of the bag and it’s unlikely he will ever be caught.