When mentioning the term “legacy,” the name Michael Jackson most likely follows.
Unfortunately, we are only left with his legacy — and what a legacy it was. Throughout his lifetime, Jackson became the undisputed King of Pop. He is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with an estimated 400 million units in sales. He has earned 15 Grammy Awards, a Juno Award, six Brit Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and 39 Guinness World Records, including the “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time.” And he’s also one of the only musicians to ever be inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame twice (once as a member of The Jackson Five, and once as a solo artist).
Yet, today, the Michael Jackson estate puts out little, if anything, about one of the greatest musicians of all time. Why?
“Given how much has been done in the first decade following Michael’s tragic and untimely passing, it should not be a surprise that there is a natural slowing and spreading out of major releases as the Estate focuses more selectively on projects to enhance Michael’s legacy long term. While we appreciate that the fans want more releases, it is important to keep in mind all that has been created and released in this relatively short time. This includes a number of licensing deals such as the limited-edition collaborations with clothing companies like Supreme and Off White, the launch of the Michael Jackson slot machines, as well as all of the larger scale releases,” the estate said, in an official statement.
In honor of Michael, we decided to take a look at how much the estate has grown — and changed in value — in the years following his death. What is the estate of Michael Jackson worth in 2021?
How Much Is The Estate Of Michael Jackson Worth?
According to the Associated Press, Michael Jackson’s estate was worth $482 million when he passed in 2009. However, the estate hotly contested that value — mostly because of the estate bill that was prepared that was “far too high” for the heirs.
Ultimately, in May 2021, Judge Mark Holmes ruled that the Michael Jackson estate was worth $111 million.
Who Runs The Michael Jackson Estate?
The executor of Michael Jackson’s estate is John Branca, who was at the recent ruling made by Judge Mark Holmes.
“We’re pleased,” he said in a statement. “We always try to do the right thing. We tried from the beginning to follow the IRS rules and regulations and relied on the best experts possible. It’s unfortunate that we were forced to litigate to protect ourselves.”
The benefactors of the estate are Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and his three children: Prince, Paris, and Prince Michael Jackson II.
The Michael Jackson Estate: A Brief History
When Michael Jackson passed in 2009, his net worth was in question — meaning it was unknown.
However, in August 2018, Forbes reported that Michael Jackson had pre-tax earnings of $4.2 billion (“in life and in death, adjusted for inflation*”)
The issue of the Michael Jackson estate, however, was never about what he had the potential to earn — in addition to licensing out his songs, the estate still owned the right to license out songs from The Beatles. The issue was how much, in taxes, the estate had to pay when he passed away in 2009.
And because the argument from Jackson’s estate was that the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) tax bill was too hefty — which the Associated Press reports was $700 million (of which $200 million was in penalties alone) — the estate filed a suit in 2013 contesting the bill. While the executors claimed that the estate of Michael Jackson was worth “slightly more than $7 million,” the IRS claimed it was worth more than $1.125 billion. In February 2014, according to The Los Angeles Times, the IRS reported that Jackson’s estate owed $702 million; $505 million in taxes, and $197 million in penalties.
The ruling in the estate’s favor in May 2021 means that the IRS must recalculate the taxes owed, and this time, they must not include any penalties or fees.