Steve McNair's widow facing estate tax nightmare
NY Times has interesting feature about Mark Twain's will

The crazy claims of the Michael Jackson Estate

Given MJ's eccentricities in life, and the craziness that has surrounded his estate since he died, it is no surprise that Michael Jackson's estate executors are busy denying wild claims left and right.  Michael Jackson Trial and Heirs

TMZ has a list of the wackiest ones:

  • Jose Freddie Vallejos asked for $3.3 million to reimburse Los Angeles for the costs of the King of Pop's memorial service.
  • A homeschooler, Claire McMillan, is seeking $2 million.
  • Michael, according to Nona Paris Lola Ankhesenamun Jackson (try saying that three times fast), was actually married to her, so Nona of course wants custody of the three kids.
  • Richard Lapointe claimed he's owed $5 million for a memorabilia auction that was wrongly canceled.
  • And, best of all, a woman is convinced that Jackson wiretapped her telephone and had organized criminals watch her.  She wants a mere $50 million.

You can read TMZ's coverage of these claims, which were all formally denied last week by Howard Weitzman, the estate's attorney.  This means the claimants now have to initial legal action to try to prove that their claims are valid, if they still want to pursue their demands for dough.

Oh -- let's not forget the claim of the secret love child.  What celebrity estate mess, with fortune-seekers coming out of the woodwork, would be complete without the claim of a secret child?  25-year-old Prince Michael Malachi Jet Jackson is asking for a DNA sample so he can prove he's really Michael's eldest son. 

Hey, as wacky as MJ was in life--who knows--maybe some of these claimants are actually telling the truth.  Stayed tuned to find out!

But, bad news for Prince Michael Mala(etc.).  Michael, Sr.'s will (which you can read here) states that he had no other children and he intentionally did not leave anything for any other heirs (except for this three legitimate children and his mother, who are beneficiaries of his trust).  This means that even if this secret child is telling the truth, he won't inherit anything (at least, it would be very unlikely because of the language of the will).

That's one of the reasons why it is important to work with a good estate planning attorney.  You never know what kind of crazy people will surface when someone dies, with hands extended looking for money.  If Michael Jackson had properly funded his trust, then his entire estate could have been handled in private, outside of court.  This would have made it much tougher for these crazy creditors to try to stake a claim in probate court.

Of course, without crazy creditors, it just wouldn't have felt right, would it?

Posted by: Andrew W. Mayoras and Danielle B. Mayoras, co-authors of Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founders of The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Elder Law in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law. Andrew and Danielle are husband and wife attorneys, professional speakers and consultants across the country.

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