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Michael Jackson still makes money, 18 months after his death

The death of Michael Jackson may have been a huge loss to the music world, but not even death could stop him, or his estate, from making money. Through clever estate administration, Jackson and his lawyers were able to secure a solid financial future for Jackson's mother and children. Now, approximately 18 months after his death, the King of Pop is continuing to provide for his family.

One of the first things his estate did was pay off Jackson's California home. Jackson still had a $4 million mortgage on the home, but after Jackson's former lawyer refinanced his $300 million of debt and settled other outstanding debts, the estate dropped Jackson's overall debt by $200 million.

In addition to reducing how much his mother and children will ultimately have to pay to creditors, the Jackson estate has continued to increase its revenue and invest in new ventures to bring in even more money. The estate participated in a buyout of a music publishing company in an effort to increase how much the estate will earn each year.

Jackson's estate also hopes to learn from the Elvis Presley estate, which has continued to make money over 30 years after the singer's death. While the estate, including the Graceland museum and the Heartbreak Hotel next to Presley's former home, continue to make money, revenue has been declining over the past six years. Jackson's former attorney believes that he will hopefully be able to avoid some of the mistakes and problems plaguing the Presley estate as he moves forward in his role as co-executor of Jackson's estate.

Although Michael Jackson and his estate are a rarity, many of the concerns that go into planning an estate or trust are common to both the pop stars and everyone else in California. Because estate planning can be quite difficult without the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, it is recommended that anyone wishing to leave something to family members after he or she is gone work with a lawyer.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Michael Jackson's Estate Wants to Keep Thrilling," Ronald Grover and Andy Fixmer, Jan. 5, 2012

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My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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