The Legal Mess Following Michael Jackson’s Death

By Gilbert Mercier, NEWS JUNKIE POST

The King of Pop seems to be creating as much controversy dead as when he was alive. As a giant funeral service is scheduled to be held at the singer’s Neverland ranch, preparation takes place and so is the fight over the control of Michael Jackson’s estate.

Michael Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, has already petitioned California’s Supreme Court to become the sole administrator of the estate. The filling took place on Monday. However, on Tuesday a will from the singer surfaced and could make it imperative to have an outside executor to manage the estate. Katherine Jackson said in the filling that she was “Acting to ensure that Michael’s three children are the beneficiaries of the estate.”

And, a battle is already brewing regarding the control of Jackson’s assets. The main assets are the Neverland ranch, but mostly Jackson’s highly profitable music catalog. The catalog includes his own songs but also the rights to many songs by the Beatles. The company controlling the publishing rights is Sony/ ATV Music Publishing. Jackson had a 50% share in the publishing company, the current estimation for the value of Sony/ ATV is $2 Billion.

As far as the Neverland ranch, the other large asset in the estate, it was probably the main cause of Michael Jackson’s current financial difficulties. Some describe the extravagant property as “An amusement park without visitors.”

Since 2001, Michael Jackson was using his Sony/ATV assets as collateral to get at least two loans. He could have leveraged as much as $400 Million between 2001 and 2005.

The stream of revenue from Michael Jackson’s own songs provided by publishing rights has already increased sharply since his death a few days ago. It is reported that Jackson’s CDs are flying off music stores shelves all over the world at a record pace.

Just like with Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson estate revenue stream could increase dramatically after his death. As the passion and grief level off in a few weeks, we will hopefully be able to let an incredible artist rest in peace and just enjoy his music.