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Jackson will surfacesby Lee Simmons, June 30th, 2009, 1:39 pm Less than a week after Michael Jackson's death, and the sharks already are circling.This morning it was revealed that a 2002 will drafted by Michael Jackson stipulates that his mother, three children, and charities would split the benefits of his estate, estimated at more than $200 million.

That will could see a judge as soon as this week.A lawyer for his parents, Joe and Katherine Jackson, however, disputes that any will ever existed (perhaps, cynically, because Joe was left out of that 2002 will).

And, to add spice to the brewing drama, in just the past few days at least one other will has evidently surfaced, which could throw Jackson's already entangled assets into further disarray.The bermuda triangle of Jackson's finances will only make the process that much longer and laborious.

In 2007 the singer's assets, including Neverland Ranch and his 50-percent stake in the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalog, tallied $567 million.

His debts reached $331 million, leaving Jackson with a net worth of $236 million.Here's the biggest shocker, though: According to financial documents prepared by accountants Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates and obtained by the Associated Press, Jackson had little more than $668,000 in cash in 2007.(Another estimate puts Jackson's debt at around $500 million, which would certainly put a crimp on his net worth.)It was no secret that Jackson's planned "This is It" performances at London's O2 Arena were, in one way, a debt-relief vehicle.

Promoter AEG Live had already sold $85 million in tickets for the 50-date show by June 25, and it was expected to be the highest-grossing concert event ever.AEG Live said it would return money and fees to ticket buyers, or, alternatively, send a ticket (designed by the Gloved One himself) as a souvenir.

"This is It" indeed. Unclaimed cash would go to cover production costs (estimated at up to $30 million) with the rest returning to Jackson's estate.

And depending on Jackson's cause of death, AEG could join other creditors and family members already lined up to grab a piece of the pie.However the Jackson empire is carved up, though, don't expect any swift decisions.

Alongside his legacy, his finances will be news for a very long time to come.permalink | Category: Entertainment, In the News, Music, People
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