There is always so much controversy over celebrity wills. For example, after Michael Jackson’s untimely death on June 25, 2009, a few of his siblings labeled his will “false” and “fraudulent.” Well, partly because they could not imagine that the King of Pop would leave them out of his will.
However, from the legal perspective, there is nothing scandalous or controversial about Michael Jackson’s will. Apart from the Last Will and Testament and a Revocable Living Trust, Michael Jackson has signed three other wills that came prior to this one. However, if you look at each of them, you will see that they are all quite consistent and there is no much difference between them. In this article, we will be focusing on 5 things that you might not know about the singer’s will.
1. The first will appeared in 1995
Michael Jackson’s first will was signed in 1995 in which he named John Branca, Bert Mitchell, and Marshall Gelfand as co-executors. According to the will, the artist’s interests should be placed in an entity called Michael Jackson Family Trust. 20% of it would go to charity, and the remainder should be split between a lifetime trust for Michael’s mother and any children he might have. Also, after his mother’s, Katherine Jackson’s death, all the remaining funds would go to Michael Jackson’s children.
2. The second one was not so different
Michael Jackson’s will Number 2 which was signed in 1997 was not so different from the previous one. It still named John Branca and Bert Mitchell as so-executors. However, Marshall Gelfand was replaced by Jane Heller. The distribution under the Michael Jackson Family Trust remained the same.
3. Jackson left out his ex-wives of his will
The third will was signed in March 2002. And the last one was signed on July 7 of the same year. Michael Jackson’s two ex-wives Debbie Rowe and Lisa Marie Presley were left out of the settlement.
In addition, in this last will, John Branca, music executive John McClain and accountant Barry Siegel are named as co-executors. However, Siegel declined to serve as one by signing a letter in 2003. As a result, Branca and McClain are currently servings as co-executors of the will.
Note that Katherine Jackson had some initial objections regarding the co-executors. However, shortly after she dropped those objections, Judge Mitchell Beckloff formally appointed Branca and McClain as co-executors of the estate.
4. Jackson’s father also had objections
Michael Jackson’s father, Joe Jackson was also left out of his last will as well as the previous ones. A few months after his son’s death, he tried to challenge the will. However, he did not succeed since the Judge Mr. Beckloff announced in 2009 that Joe Jackson takes nothing of Michael Jackson’s estate. This was his son’s decision and he had to deal with it.
5. Katherine Jackson is named to serve as guardian for the children
She was to serve as the guardian for Jackson’s minor children. However, if she was unable or unwilling to so do, Diana Ross was to be a backup guardian. However, in 2009, Debbie Rowe (the mother of two Jackson children) reached an agreement with Katherine. She is currently serving as the guarding for all three Jackson kids.
Michael’s three children Michael Joseph “Prince” Jackson, Jr., Paris Katherine Michael Jackson, and Prince Michael “Blanket” Jackson II will each receive over $33million. They will be able to receive their share from trust funds when they turn 30. However, they will be entitled to free reign on their share only after they reach 40.
Michael Jackson’s estate was worth $300million at the time he died. He left 40% to his mother, 40% to his children, and 20% to charity.
Benefits of a will
Some benefits of a will include the following:
- You will decide how your assets will be distributed after you pass away
- The right people (the ones you choose) will inherit your assets
- You can choose who will help manage your assets
- You will be able to appoint a guardian for your children after you die
While a will and a living trust both have lots of benefits, they are two completely different documents. And it’s a good idea to do your research before you decide which one to choose. After you make a decision, you should turn to an experienced lawyer to help you with the documents.