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Michael Jackson’s Estate Must Act Contrary To What He Would Have Done

MichaelThe estate recently severed ties to Jackson’s publicist and former management team, after a multi-year courtroom battle. The losers said they stood by the star at a really low point in his life. In return, they claimed, he promised them 15% of his business.

Although he passed away some years ago, Michael Jackson just keeps on going. He’s also likely to continue to be a major money-making entity long into the future.  Since the estate wanted all of the cash, whatever Michael really wanted is of little consequence without legal documentation. Since a judge has dismissed the claim, the estate can continue consolidating its hold over every aspect of the Michael Jackson brand. All the old relationships that he once had with partners and advisors are gone.

The executors have been extremely busy over the last eight years, erasing any existing relationships for higher absolute returns on the assets. Michael’s attorney—now in charge of his estate—is looking at the way the assets are being transferred to his kids. Michael’s mom gets 40% of the income while she’s alive, and his kids each get a third of what’s left in three installments each when each one of them turns 30. After that, it’s all about maximizing the amount the executors will have to turn over in the future.

And nothing is out of reach. That’s how the estate justified liquidating the Beatles song catalog which Michael loved—despite that songbook making $10 million a year. The estate also sold the global distribution rights to Michael’s own publishing in a deal that soon expires.

When Michael was alive, he was a star. He was untouchable and burned through cash like it grew on trees. He made poor decisions and couldn’t hire a top manager to turn around his cash flow. It was his charm and goodwill that got his old lawyer back to run the estate. It’s now a big business that can chase bigger deals and generate more cash.

Now that the debts are paid, the cash keeps rolling into the estate. Computer animation is supporting a bevy of new endorsements and “appearances” for big fees. The IRS is demanding taxes on image and publicity rights worth up to $140 million, but there are still 10 years before Michael’s kids get any inheritance. Right now, the estate is making sure that the kids are very comfortable while the managers keep the assets working.

Reference: Trust Advisor (April 3, 2017) “Michael Jackson Estate Reveals Mr. Hyde Side: Dead Star Now Fighting His Friends”

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