"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Private matters

Here's a few of my thoughts about the Michael Jackson media frenzy:

1. What's the big deal about MJ not leaving anything to his ex-wife? People rarely bequeath money to their ex-spouses. If they liked their ex that much, they would have stayed married. I wonder how many reporters are leaving money to their exes.

2. Why did MJ even mention her then? Well, probably because if you explicitly state in your will that you don't want anything to go to someone, they have a much weaker case if they try to overturn your will. California is a community property state so that statement in the will may be even more important there.

3. What's wrong with MJ's mother being the children's guardian? Yes, she is 79 and perhaps not in the best of health, but she is not a poor grandmother raising her orphan grandchildren all alone in a one room shack. These children have been raised with the help of a nanny all their lives, so why would that not continue to be the case? In addition, there is a large extended family to assist. I would imagine Mrs. Jackson will manage just fine.

4, Who cares about the executor of the will? The people with the real control are the trustees of MJ's trust. They will be handling the investments, accounting and distribution of MJ's assets to his beneficiaries. If you're not familiar with the difference, Candice Choi of AP wrote this good explanation.

5. Why are all MJ's finances so secret? Probably because he wanted it that way. The beauty of putting your assets in a trust is that your estate balance sheet is private. No media hounds or nosy neighbors can go to the local courthouse and find out how much your estate is worth. To some people, that is extremely important, whether they are world celebrities or just local folk who want their privacy.

I'm not a lawyer and I'm not familiar with California estate law, but I have been trustee and/or executor for many clients and relatives' estates and I do some estate planning in my occupation. Based upon my experience, the reclusive, private MJ got some good legal advice for obstructing the media from his beneficiaries' financial matters.


Alice said...

I agree with everything you listed. People seldom listen to me though.

Catch Her in the Wry said...

Alice: Clients listen to me 95% of the time (but they are paying me); family and friends perhaps 75%of the time. I'm known as the "go to" person for information.