Smart New York Estate Planning Leaves Millions to Michael Jackson’s Family

The Associated Press is reporting that Michael Jackson’s estate has generated $310 million since he died two years ago mired in debt, enough to allow officials to make a $30 million payment to his mother and three children.

It must have taken an astounding amount of work to generate $310 million in two years. But because the King of Pop has such a fan base, it is apparently very possible especially considering a new album release and the selling off of memorabilia and personal possessions that likely have fetched high-dollar amounts at auction.
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Yet most of us don’t have millions of fans and the assets to sell to make those types of strides financially after death. That’s why being smart now is so important. Effective New York estate planning is crucial because without properly considering your assets, debts and what you will leave behind, your surviving family members could end up paying the price. That’s why it is prudent to consult with an experienced New York City Probate Attorney before it is too late.

Jackson’s case shows why choosing an executor for a New York City estate can make all the difference in the world. Two men were appointed executors of Jackson’s estate and, according to the news article, they have generated $310 in gross revenues. Additionally, they have refinanced and secured the estate’s interest in the Michael Jackson music catalog, MiJac and the Sony/ATV publishing catalog. The executors have reduced debt obligations by more than $90 million, and refinanced loans Jackson had taken out at far lower interest rates to save money.

Creditors have been paid off and taxes paid. While some creditor claims are open, the deadline for collecting has passed. A hearing to approve the plan is set for Sept. 28.

An executor is a person named in the person’s will and is appointed by the court when the will is admitted to probate in New York. The executor is responsible for distributing assets after paying taxes, debts, claims and other financial matters.

While it may seem simple, it is a very complex job and one that should be entrusted only to the most qualified and trusted person in your life. Look at Jackson’s case — he left mounds of debt from reckless spending before he died and left his executors with quite a task. But with smart financial moves and advice from well-informed probate lawyers, they have been able to erase or pay down debt and produce money for his family members.

As mentioned before, the average citizen doesn’t have the fame or assets to pull this off, so planning now for assets to be distributed and how you want your affairs handled upon death should be a priority, regardless of your age or financial situation.


Manhattan Estate Attorney Jules M. Haas has helped many clients over the past 30 years resolve issues relating to intestate estates, estate planning, kinship and estate settlement. He has represented clients in these matters throughout New York including Westchester and Manhattan. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial consultation.

More Blog Entries:

In Death, Amy Winehouse Appears Clever After Smart Will and Estate Planning: August 17, 2011
Additional Resources:

Jackson estate sends $30 million to mother, kids, by Linda Deutsch, Associated Press

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