Sunday, July 05, 2009

Michael Jackson's Estate

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.

USA Today chimes today in with an analysis of the tangled web of the Jackson estate's assets and liabilities. See: Michael Jackson's Estate: The fallout will be monumental:

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.

Business Week also catalogues the challenges ahead in administration of the Jackson estate - see: Settling Michael Jackson's Estate May Be a Thriller.

On a related note, B.C. law blogger Stan Rule explores the Jackson estate, and in the process, provides a concise, comparative primer on estate planning in British Columbia. See: Michael Jackson's Estate Plan at Rule of Law.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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