Michael Jackson's will is now posted online for all to see. Have look - the will itself is fairly standard fare, but Mr. Jackson's reference to Diana Ross as alternate guardian for his children will be at least a little tantalizing for celebrity justice junkies.
Even the valuation of Jackson's most valuable asset — his stake in a music catalog whose publishing rights includes Beatles songs — could be subject to protracted debate. Jackson snapped up the catalog for $47.5 million in a 1985 deal that had provided him millions in annual income, and he pocketed $95 million from selling Sony a 50% stake in 2005.
The catalog continued to bankroll a lifestyle that included maintaining the 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch, expensive art purchases and litigation, including a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement to the family of a boy who had accused him of molestation. Jackson used the catalog as collateral against assorted loans, with $300 million in debt to Barclays Bank alone.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto