Michael Jackson Has A Will

30Jun09

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A will drafted by Michael Jackson in 2002 which divides the singer’s estate among his mother, three children and one or more charities could play a central role in determining how his tangled financial relationships will be unwound.

Several people close to the late Mr. Jackson said that a lawyer for the pop singer could submit the will, believed to be his last, to Los Angeles Superior Court as soon as Thursday. That filing would cap a tense period in which relatives and advisers of the late singer debated what document, if any, was valid.

The Associated Press reported that Mr. Jackson’s parents, Joseph and Katherine Jackson, said in a Monday court filing that they believed the singer had died without a valid will. Joseph Jackson isn’t believed to be included in the most recent will.

In an email message, a lawyer for Mr. Jackson’s parents said neither he nor his clients had seen the 2002 will. “No will has been presented to family or us,” wrote the lawyer, L. Londell McMillan, who also once represented Michael Jackson. “We will review any will when we see it.”

This will names as executors lawyer John Branca and a veteran music executive named John McClain who was also a friend of Mr. Jackson. Mr. Branca, who served as Mr. Jackson’s primary attorney between 1980 and 2006, wrote the will. Mr. Jackson had rehired Mr. Branca the week before his death last Thursday. Mr. Branca didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday; Mr. McClain couldn’t be reached

Unwinding Mr. Jackson’s estate is likely to be a thorny challenge, given the size and complexity of both the assets and the debts involved. In all, Mr. Jackson died with around $500 million debt, but the value of his assets probably outweigh that, possibly by $200 million or more, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apart from the wrangling over the will, funeral arrangements also remained a subject of debate among family members, with logistical and other issues contributing to apparent gridlock in planning, according to people familiar with the situation.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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