Skip to navigation

The Michael Jackson Estate: Lessons in Estate Planning and Asset Protection

March 5, 2023

When Michael Jackson passed away in 2009, he left behind a complex estate worth over $2 billion. While his estate plan was more detailed than Prince's, it still faced legal battles and controversies. Here are some lessons we can learn from the Michael Jackson estate:

  1. Create a Trust

Michael Jackson's estate plan included a trust, which helped to protect his assets and keep the details of his estate plan private. A trust can help to avoid the probate process, which can be costly and time-consuming, and can provide more control over how your assets are distributed.

  1. Choose the Right Trustees

Choosing the right trustees for your trust is crucial to ensuring that your wishes are carried out. In Michael Jackson's case, he chose three separate trustees to manage his estate, which created some tension and legal battles among them. It's important to choose trustees who are trustworthy, capable, and willing to work together.

  1. Consider the Tax Implications

Like Prince, Michael Jackson's estate was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and tax planning was a significant factor in his estate plan. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you minimize your tax liability and protect more of your assets for your heirs.

  1. Protect Your Intellectual Property

Michael Jackson's estate is still generating millions of dollars in revenue, in large part due to his intellectual property, such as his music and image rights. It's important to protect your intellectual property through your estate plan, to ensure that your legacy and financial interests are protected.

  1. Plan for Contingencies

Michael Jackson's estate plan included provisions for contingencies, such as what would happen if his children were minors at the time of his death. It's important to plan for contingencies in your estate plan, to ensure that your wishes are carried out even if unexpected circumstances arise.

The Michael Jackson estate offers valuable lessons in estate planning and asset protection. By creating a trust, choosing the right trustees, considering tax implications, protecting your intellectual property, and planning for contingencies, you can help ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a comprehensive and effective estate plan that meets your unique needs and goals.

This article is a service of The Bushman Law Firm, LLC, and Drew Bushman, serving the Greater Waco area in-person and all of Texas remotely. I don’t just draft documents; I am dedicated to educating out community so they can make informed and empowered decisions to provide for the people they care about and build a legacy worth leaving them. That's why I offer a Family Legacy Planning Meeting, during which my clients get a snapshot of what would happen to their family if something happened to them and then learn what the options are, with all of the associated benefits and risks, so they can decide what kind of estate plan is right for them. If that sounds interesting to you, you can go to my website,, today to schedule a complimentary consultation call.