No word as yet about Michael Jackson’s will. According to a June 29, 2009 article in The Independent: "For reasons that remain murky, Jackson’s immediate family have so far had no luck in persuading his former entourage to grant access to his will, the one document that could reveal details of how the performer wished his funeral to be conducted."
It is commonly known that Jackson had serious financial problems and was deeply in debt. Reports vary – from $200 to $500 million in debt. His assets are estimated by one source at $ 1 billion. Jackson was counting on his upcoming "This Is It" tour with 50 dates over 6 months to restore his financial position.
True, the tour won’t be proceeding but as blogger Harry Thomas Hackney says in his post, the estate may make a lot of money: "Jackson’s estate may earn even more than Jackson. Even as I write this, radio stations and TV stations are playing Jackson songs and videos and the royalties are pouring in. Itunes is probably sellng Jackson’s music at a record rate and CDs and posters are flying off the shelves at WalMart. This income is likely to go further without Jackson to spend it faster than it comes in. It is likely to support an army of lawyers and accountants and still be able to pay debt and a legacy for his three (3) children. Elvis Presley’s estate earned $52,000,000.00 last year, which may be more than Jackson earned while living. "
Then there will be the custody battle. Mail Online reports that Jackson’s three children, Prince (age 12), Paris (age 11) and Prince Michael II (a/k/a Blanket) want to live with their grandparents – Joe and Katherine Jackson. Jackson’s second ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, also wants custody.
There has long been speculation that Jackson would will the rights to the 200 songs from the Beatles catalogue that he purchased in 1985 to Paul McCartney.
An article in The National Law Journal predicts a slew of legal battles over the use of Michael Jackson’s name, music and image. Posters and T-shirts with his picture are already out there along with bootleg copies of videos and CDs.
The June 29 article in The Independent continues:
"Friends, family and former business associates unveiled legal teams yesterday as they prepare to duke it out over everything from the shady events that led to the King of Pop’s sudden death, to the billion-dollar question of how the estate should be divided and who should gain custody of his three children.
Even Jackson’s forthcoming burial is the subject of legal wrangles. His parents and eight siblings, who spent the weekend at their home in Encino, are hoping to co-ordinate a private service and public memorial event that would bring hundreds of thousands of mourners to the streets of Los Angeles. "