by Estate Planning Attorney Nydia Menendez
Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Indiana. When he was only eight years old, he joined the family music group composed of Michael and his four brothers Tito, Marlon, Jermaine and Jackie. They were called the Jackson 5. Michael was a musical prodigy and soon became the lead voice of the group. His singing and dancing talents were extremely mature for a kid that age. By the 1970s the Jackson 5 became one of the most accomplished black pop/soul vocal groups in music history.
The early start in his career boosted Michael, who became known as the King of Pop, to worldwide musical success as a solo artist by the 1980s, when he had become much more popular than his brotherly group. Sales consistently broke records culminating in the biggest-selling album of all time, “Thriller” in 1982. A TV natural, he ventured rather uneasily into films, such as playing the Scarecrow in The Wiz and his famous elaborate music videos.
The King of Pop was married twice: First to Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie, and next to Debbie Rowe, mother to Michael’s first two children, Michael Junior, and Paris. His younger child, Prince, was born in 2002 to a surrogate mother.
Michael Jackson was only 50 years old when he died at his Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009 due to cardiac arrest caused by acute intoxication.
In his Will, Michael left his entire Estate to “The Michael Jackson Family Trust,” which named his mother, Katherine Jackson, as beneficiary and legal Guardian of his three children. If she were incapacitated or died, the singer Diana Ross would get custody of the children.
The IRS valued Michael’s Estate at $1.3 billion dollars. According to the Trust, Michael’s children would receive $33 million each. Michael’s mother received her share immediately, with any portion remaining when she passed to be split among the children. The children were to receive scheduled payouts through age 40. Jackson left nothing to his siblings, father, or either ex-wife.
But although the King of Pop created a Trust, he never funded his assets into it. This caused embarrassing and lengthy Probate court battles involving family members, Executors, the IRS, and of course attorneys.
The moral of Michael Jackson’s Famous Estate is this: Preparing a Trust is not enough. Funding assets into the Trust is critical to ensure your wishes are carried out and the Probate process is avoided. A Trust which is not funded is like a beautiful pen with no ink: useless. You will end up with only expensive paperwork if you don’t fund your assets into the Trust.
How Can You Get Started with Your Estate Plan?
If you want to learn more about how to plan for your future to make sure you remain in control of your decisions while leaving a lasting legacy for your family, then we invite you to call our office at (954) 963-7220 to speak with a member of the Menéndez Law Firm. You may also want to watch the video series on our YouTube channel where we talk about Estate Planning in detail. Or if you would like to join us for the next live Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning webinar on Zoom you can register at no charge on our website www.menendezlawfirm.com
Estate Planning Attorney
Menéndez Law Firm
2699 Stirling Road, Suite B200
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Tel.: (954) 963-7220
Fax: (954) 963-7232