Michael Jackson’s estate management challenge.
What Would the King of Pop Want?
The will itself is rather straightforward; the estate, however, is already proving to be a nightmare. A complex labyrinth of assets, music royalty rights, custody arrangements, creditors, lawsuits, and beneficiaries must be negotiated and it may be several years before the estate is settled. While the will is pretty specific (last wife is out; Mom is in as guardian of the kids), so far, little is known about Jackson’s precise wishes for his funeral arrangements, other than the fact he wished to be buried at Neverland. (What to wear: Swarovski crystal-encrusted glove or red leather Thriller-era jacket?).
As the family takes control of the details, it appears that his beloved ranch could become the next Graceland, with Jackson undergoing a double burial; first at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, (in a funeral that will probably be the biggest in entertainment history) and then (after a probable legal battle with California state law) at the now dilapidated residence.
His own parents didn’t even know that Jackson had a will. Given the star’s eccentricities, this is perhaps not unusual, but it’s more common that you might think. According to some statistics, less than 15% of parents have discussed with their heirs how the estate should be divided or what they prefer in their funeral arrangements. This year alone, over 2 million American families will face losing a loved one. Few will actually know what needs to be done after they have received the devastating news.
To date, there have been scant online resources that could fully assist a family in administering the estate of a loved one. But when funeral sites launched in early summer 2009, families, as well as the entire Baby Boomer generation (aging steadily at an alarming rate) were suddenly given the tools not only to plan their own estate and funeral arrangements down to the most minute details, but the ability to spare their loved ones the trauma and stress involved in administering their estate after they shuffle off this mortal coil.
Contemplating what our loved ones must deal with when we’re (hopefully) in the sweet Hereafter may not be pleasant, but if you want the sendoff of your dreams, you want to be clear about what goes to whom and you want to make that transition easier on them, then the new funeral sites are the places to go and start planning—now.