Celebrity Estate Plans Series Part 1 of 4: Michael Jackson 

What is it about celebrities that always draws us in? For whatever reason, we just can’t resist a good, juicy celebrity story. Maybe it’s because we can relate in some way, or maybe we feel like we can’t relate and that’s what makes celebrities interesting. Their lives always seem attractive but somehow… just out of reach.

So for the next few weeks, we’re going to look at the lives of 4 celebrities and see what we can learn from their stories. I think you’ll be surprised to learn that you have more in common with these folks than you thought (even if you don’t also have your own private jet).

This week, we’re going to turn the spotlight on Michael Jackson. Even if you aren’t old enough to “Remember the Time” when Michael Jackson was dominating the charts, by the end of this article, you’ll see that he left holes in his estate plan that we can learn from.

Before we get started, however, I want to address the elephant in the room: many people, maybe you’re included, find Michael Jackson’s personal life and choices… concerning. That is completely understandable. The intent of this piece is not to defend or promote him in any way. Rather, this article’s focus is on his family and what they’ve endured in the court system for the last 15 years.

Now, let’s dive in and learn how you can avoid the same fate for your loved ones. It’s as easy as “ABC” (and 1, 2, 3).

In Michael Jackson’s case, his estate plan included a Will, establishing trusts for his mother, Katherine, and his three children, Paris, Prince, and Bigi. However, relying solely on a Will can lead to complications. Assets passing through a Will must go through probate – a court process that can be lengthy, costly, and public.

A trust, on the other hand, allows for private administration and can avoid probate entirely if assets are properly funded into it during your lifetime. This crucial distinction could have spared Michael Jackson’s family ongoing legal battles and public scrutiny.

To ensure your loved ones receive your assets as intended, education and intent are key. My Life & Legacy Planning process begins with empowering you through education, showing you the potential outcomes based on your current plan or lack thereof. From there, we make intentional decisions that align with your desires and protect your family’s future.

Taxes also played a significant role in Michael Jackson’s estate troubles. Without proper planning, taxes can diminish what you pass on to your heirs. Working with a professional ensures your plan considers all tax implications and employs strategies to minimize their impact.

Choosing the right representatives for your estate is equally critical. Communicating your intentions clearly and selecting capable individuals or professionals can prevent conflicts like those faced by Michael Jackson’s family. Open dialogue now can prevent future disputes and ensure your legacy remains intact.

By learning from Michael Jackson’s challenges, you can create a plan that safeguards your loved ones and avoids unnecessary legal complexities. Let’s work together to ensure your estate plan doesn’t become a “Thriller” for your family.

“You Are Not Alone” – We’re Here for You

At Cheever Law, APC, we don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death for yourself and the people you love, starting with a valuable and educational Life & Legacy Planning Session. This will allow you to get more financially organized and make the best choices for the people you love. If you have already completed your estate plan, we will review that plan at your Life & Legacy Planning Session to ensure that it will work the way you intend and address any holes or gaps that may be present if circumstances have changed since you executed your plan.   

To learn more about our one-of-a-kind systems and services, contact us or schedule a no-obligation 15-minute introductory phone call today.