Thursday, July 2, 2009

Michael Jackson's Estate Plan

Every reporter or news anchor I have seen since the filing of MJ's will has breathlessly reported that the "King of Pop" has disinherited his father and his former "wife," Deborah Rowe. Well, that may or may not be true; the media doesn't understand that for all his other faults and flaws, Jackson had the good sense to create a living trust that is not required to be filed with the probate court. The living trust (named in this case the "Michael Jackson Family Trust") is where all the dispositive provisions regarding Jackson's assets are included. It is entirely possible (although unlikely) that the trust includes either his father or Debbie Rowe (or both) as beneficiaries. The filed will does not name any specific beneficiaries of assets, but is simply a standard "pour over" will that transfers any "unfunded" assets to the Family Trust after death.

Besides the pour-over provisions, the main purpose of the will here was to designate Jackson's preferred guardians of his minor children. Jackson's first choice as guardian was his mother, with his second choice being his old friend (and childhood idol), Diana Ross. It's hard to imagine any scenario in which the now 65-year old Ms. Ross would assume responsibility for these children in Jackson's mother were to die or become unable to be their guardian.


  1. Nice analysis Rich. And, I do like your blog. I didn't know you had one or I'd have been here sooner. Take a look at mine. I'm going to try to link to yours from mine so I will be a follower of yours.

  2. Steve, thanks for checking out the Blog. I'm really just starting to get the word out about this. I've gone to your Blog and have signed up to follow it