As some New Yorkers may have heard, the estate of pop music icon Michael Jackson has earned more than $310 million since his death in June 2009. His estate administrators were able to pay off most of his debt by negotiating deals for new music albums, the movie “This Is It,” and video games like “Michael Jackson The Experience.”
But CBS News reported a filing in Jackson’s probate case revealed he died with over $400 million in debt while an additional $159 million was spent between June 2009 and December 2010. Court records show that Jackson’s extravagant spending in the past still requires lawyers to develop new financial deals and sort out his old debts.
While most of the estate's earnings have gone to Jackson's three young children and their guardian Katherine Jackson (Jackson's mother), it still continues to deal with several financial disputes. According to the Associated Press, Jackson's estate is also currently working out settlements in a few lawsuits.
The first complete record of Michael Jackson's financial affairs since his death will be reviewed in a hearing in May. His lawyers expect a judge to oversee the estate's administration for at least one more year.
Often, estate administration generally involves paying the deceased person's debts, gathering all the assets of the estate, and distributing those assets accordingly. Personal representatives, whether an individual, or a company (like a bank), are appointed in a probate court and held responsible for managing the estate.
More than one person may be named as a personal representative and nominated by the decedent's will. In other cases, the court will often appoint a surviving spouse or family member if no will was created.
To learn about your legal options when it comes to preparing a will and selecting someone you trust to handle your estate, seek legal counsel from an experience estate planning attorney who can make sure your interests are met.
- Find A New York Estate Planning Attorney (FindLaw)
- Estate Administration: The Will After Death (FindLaw)
- Paying the Debts of a Deceased Relative: Who Is Responsible? (FindLaw)
- Michael Jackson Estate Prevails Over Lawsuit (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning Law News Blog)