Who Received Property Under Michael Jackson's Will?

By: Jim Dossey, MS, MBA, JD

Michael Jackson’s Will gave all of his property to the Michael Jackson Family Trust. In Estate Planning lingo, this is called a “pour over” Will. The basic idea is that a trust, called a Revocable Trust, is set up during the life of the decedent and assets are transferred into it while the person is alive. When a Revocable Trust is used, it determines how the assets are distributed at death rather than the Will. If any property was not transferred to the Trust during the life of the decedent, the pour over Will transfers the remaining property at death to the Trust. Pour over Wills and are very common in states such as California where the probate process is very difficult, time consuming, and expensive.

Court filings indicate that the beneficiaries of the trust are limited to Jackson’s children (40%), his mother Katherine (20%), and charity (20%). No provision was made for his ex-wife, father or any of his eight siblings. In 2012, members of Jackson’s family alleged the Will was a fake, made so that the probate administrators could gain access to Jackson’s estimated $500 million fortune. At this point, however, it appears that the Will and Trust were valid and that Jackson received quality legal advice before his death.

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