When Michael Jackson passed away, he didn't just leave behind millions of fans of his music. He also died around $500 million in debt. Now, the King of Pop's estate is saying they've made HUGE progress in paying off those debts – to the tune of $475 million in gross earnings as of the end of May of this year.
That means the vast majority of MJ's debts to various creditors and other financial entities have been paid off – but they aren't completely out of the woods yet. There's still the matter of some outstanding debt involving MJ's back catalog of music, but the handlers of the estate say that they expect all of Jackson's debts to be paid off by the end of the year.
Of course, a mammoth undertaking like clearing $500 million in various debts doesn't happen for free, even when you're managing the estate of one of the most successful recording artists of all time. Take the attorneys for the estate, for instance, who have racked up an incredible more than $13.6 million in fees from May, 2010 into November, 2011.
Jackson family matriarch Katherine Jackson is also claiming "an additional $34,700 a month to pay for lawyers and accountants, and another $205,041 to cover lawyer and accountant fees from 2011." But all in all, this is great news for the Jackson estate and everyone affiliated with it.
As for MJ himself, he continues to be a huge earner even since his death – some analysts have even said that dying was the best thing that could have happened for his career. He continues to sell albums and best-of compilations, in addition to all the myriad merchandise out there bearing his name or likeness. The lesson here is – if you're going to die with half a billion dollars in debt, it makes things a lot easier if you have some value after your death.