Death, Taxes And The Estate Of Michael Jackson

michael jackson

To the old saying that only two things are certain — death and taxes — it’s probably safe to add a third.

Sorting out the estate of Michael Jackson is going to be a mess.

But three law professors and retired Milbank, Tweed partner Jonthan Blattmachr are turning a negative into a positive — they’re using the estate of Michael Jackson as a learning tool for “thorny tax issues that may arise when a celebrity dies owning valuable intellectual property.”

The paper is, of course, not People magazine, so it skips the tales of surgery-grade sleep medications and focuses on what happens, tax-wise, when the value of a celebrities’ estate increases significantly after death and how to properly prepare for the taxation of celebrity intellctual property rights.  (They do note Jackson’s post-death popularity is unusual for celebrities — Farah Fawcett and Ed McMahon died around the same time but received much less media attention.)

At Jackson’s memorial, Rev. Al Shaprton said that, “Michael taught us to stand with each other.”  There’s no reason he cannot teach us about “the estate burden associated with certain intellecutal property rights” as well.

A full copy of the article, “Celebrity, Death, and Taxes:  Michael Jackson’s Estate,” by Bridget Crawford, Joshua Tate, Mitchell Gans and Jonathan Blattmachr can be downloaded here.  Hat tip to the TaxProf Blog for highlighting the article. 

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