According to the Wall Street Journal, Jackson's estate is highly complex. His debts are over $500,000,000.00 dollars but his assets may exceed that by $200,000,000.00. He has three children (from various complicated arrangements). Currently, his mother is the guardian pending a hearing in July.
Yet, his last will was drafted in 2002 and it's location and existance were unclear.
His mother even petitioned the court believing that he might have died intestae (without a will). Clearly, his family and executors did not have the information that they needed in the event of his death.
This situation points out the need to:
1) update your will regularly
2) have clear instructions for your executors in the event of your death
3) update guardianship provisions and trusts for children and minors
4) store your will in a safe place and let your executor(s) know its location
Michael Jackson's estate will no doubt have other lessons for us and we will keep you posted. If you would like to read more about Michael Jackson's estate in the wall street journal click here.
David M. Frees III
Chairman: Trusts, Estates and Wealth Preservation
Unruh, Turner, Burke and Frees