When Michael Jackson died I posted the following:
“Michael Jackson has been dead less than 24 hours and there are dozens of articles on the internet about this already. He is in debt $400 million or $500 million or who knows how much…. However, he has assets… worth $500 million or $1 billion… or really nobody has any clue on earth! If he has no will or trust then his assets go to his kids… assuming he is not married… oh ya, and assuming he has assets. He owns most of the Beatle’s songs, right? Plus, his own songs, I assume!? Though I could never moonwallk I bought several of his albums starting in 1979 when I bought the Off the Wall album. That is one of the best record albums of all time! Really, go listen to it again! Every song is a toe tapper! Ok, back to his estate…. Hopefully he has a will laying out who the guardian should be for his kids. If not, that could be a huge fight. His kid’s guardian, whoever that will end up being, could seek a family allowance through the probate Court. A family allowance for them could be $100,000 per month or more… easily! Once the probate Court, and a TEAM of attorneys, sorts everything out then what? If no trust in place then the Court will set up a guardianship eventually. A guardianship will ultimately be established to protect the money but guardianships end at age 18. Oh my oh my… do you think his kids, Prince, Paris and Michael II will get a few hundred million when the turn 18? Will they be selling the Beatles songs so they can keep up the ridicilous lifestyle that pops accustomed them to!? Obviously this story is yet to be written. The key for YOU is for your estate plan to not end up like Michael Jackson’s. Get your estate plan done now and get it done right. Hire a certified specialist in estate planning law. We will craft a custom estate plan for you so that your assets can be distributed without the headaches, and potential limelight, of probate Court.”
Now a year later it’s still a mess. Yes, some issues have been worked out. The kids are living with the grandparents with no legal problems that I am aware of. There was recently a settlement in regard to one portion of his estate, the estate has sold some significant assets, and now the doctor is on trial. However, 100% of this mess could have been avoided by properly setting up his estate plan before he died. I could envision a combination of revocable trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, irrevocable house trusts, GRATs, family limited partnerships, Nevada LLC’s, and many more tools Michael could have used. Oh ya, and a basic will naming guardians of the kids. The key would be PLANNING AHEAD!
If Michael had planned properly he could have avoided a ton of problems for his family.
I’ll update when I hear more.