Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson: The Will

All this talk about Michael Jackson's will is sickening. People are jockeying for control of his estate and the man's funeral hasn't even taken place.

From the Wall Street Journal:

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.

One or two other earlier wills have emerged since Mr. Jackson's death last Thursday, according to people familiar with the situation. 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."

...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.

At a news conference Monday morning outside the family's home in Encino, Calif., Joseph Jackson was asked whether funeral arrangements had been made. "We're not ready for that yet," the elder Mr. Jackson said, repeating the words of Rev. Al Sharpton, who stood at his side.

This is going to be such a circus, and the media will be there to report on every detail, rumored or confirmed.

As far as entertainment goes, it will be the biggest blockbuster of the summer.

Very, very sad.


Wesley Pruden does a good job of summing up the situation in "America's Princess Di moment."
The death of Michael Jackson, with its unanswered questions and the exposure of the smarmy troupe of freeloaders, hangers-on and cockroaches crawling out of the dark places of his life, make this the perfect Hollywood tale of sex, money and sudden death. The media, including even newspapers that once could be counted on to put events in proper context, are throwing one long, drunken, inky bacchanalia, endlessly indulging round after round of trivia and manufactured sensation. P.T. Barnum lies green (with envy) in his grave.

...The inevitable reverends, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, have landed and even now are erecting competing circus tents. Rev. Al, always on the scout for the racial slight, says, "Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah, way before Barack Obama."

Mr. Jesse hints at what's coming next. "The family has questions ... There is concern about what happened the last 12 hours of Michael's life ... the doctor did not confer with the family ... he was missing in action ... he surfaced with a lawyer ... No one is in a position of accusing the doctor ... There may be plausible answers, but we don't know ... ."

Unanswered questions there may be, but it's not too soon to wake up and smell the money. There's got to be some dollars scattered around here somewhere. What we do know is that the ghouls have just begun. The television camera misleads the masses to think they're buddies with the objects of their fantasies. Princess Diana became "the people's princess" because London shop girls imagined that "she's just like us." Hank Williams' widow recalls how the death of the country-music legend became a circus when Nashville twinklies showed up with guitars and "everybody who could croak a note wanted to sing at his funeral."

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