*Michael Jackson, as you know, died 10 years ago in 2009 and was deep in debt to the tune of over $400 million! Well, that was then. Today, his estate is flowing with cash, but the good times might not last too much longer because of that controversial HBO documentary.
Yes, we’re referring to “Leaving Neverland,” which boldly accuses the King of Pop of sexually abusing Wade Robson and James Safechuck as boys. The allegations have already harmed Jackson’s reputation with fashion brand Louis Vuitton as they’ve dumped a Jackson-inspired collection. Also, radio stations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand have stopped playing his songs.
But as we alluded to, the estate itself could be affected.
“In our world today, there is going to be an effect where there is a direct relation between the stream of income and people’s emotional connection,” says Donald N. David, a lawyer who worked on Tupac Shakur’s estate. “It will absolutely have a negative impact; I just can’t tell you how much. Anything having to do with the Jackson estate inherently involves millions of dollars because of the value of the underlying assets.”
Here’s more from Money via Yahoo Finance:
Over the past decade, Forbes reports, Jackson’s relatives have raked in more than $2 billion — as much money as he earned while he was alive.
Here’s everything you need to know about how they did it (and what could come next for them).
How Much Money Did Michael Jackson Make?
Jackson sold a reported 750 million albums, purchased a $19.5 million ranch and once starred in a movie that cost over $1.7 million per minute to make. He had a clothing line and an autobiography. He even bought the Beatles catalog.
All of that translated to profit: Forbes reports that Jackson earned about $2 billion before his death (when adjusted for inflation). A 13-time Grammy Award winner, he was named the highest-paid entertainer in the world twice.
But his lifestyle led him to take out several loans, and from there he slid into financial ruin. When he died, Michael Jackson’s net worth was $236 million, according to the Associated Press. A banker would later testify he was in “financial crisis.”
“Millions of dollars annually were spent on plane charters, purchases of antiques and paintings,” Alvin Malnik, once a financial adviser to Jackson, told the New York Times in 2006. “I think that Michael never had any concept of fiscal responsibility, or logical fiscal responsibility. He was an individual that had been overindulged by those that represented him or worked for him for all of his life.”
What Is Michael Jackson’s Estate Worth?
Nobody agrees on this. In fact, the topic is at the heart of a complicated dispute over estate taxes.
In 2013, the IRS said the estate’s total value was $1.3 billion and Jackson’s likeness was worth $434 million. In 2017, it revised the number to $161 million — but that still didn’t jive with the estate, which argued his name and image were only worth $2,105.
“No celebrity’s name and likeness rights have sold for anywhere near that much — not Elvis [Presley], not Marilyn [Monroe], not [Muhammad] Ali,” estate attorney Howard Weitzman told the Wall Street Journal. “They are trying to take what Michael’s estate created for his children after death and extract an unreasonable and excessive tax.”
The legal battle is ongoing, and at least one expert says it could wrap up this spring. Stay tuned.