Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Michael Jackson Was Reportedly $500M in Debt at Time of Death

Michael Jackson, the illustrious King of Pop, boasted a glamorous career filled with both immense musical success and troubling personal scandals. Perhaps one of the lesser-known facets of his life was his severe financial woes. Reportedly, Jackson had accumulated a staggering $500 million in debt by the time of his death, a burden that his estate continues to handle.

Jackson tragically passed away at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009. His death was caused by cardiac arrest, induced by a fatal drug combination prescribed by his doctor, Conrad Murray. Now, court documents shed light on the dire financial situation Jackson was in at that time.

Documents allege that Michael Jackson may have been $500 million in debt when he died
Michael Jackson was reportedly $500 million in debt, as suggested by court documents / Andre Rau / TV Guide / Courtesy Everett Collection

NBC reveals that court documents illustrate the significant debt Jackson accrued before his demise. Executors of his estate have filed a petition detailing these financial problems at the Los Angeles County Superior Court. At the time, Jackson was on the brink of launching a new tour.

Recent reports indicate that his estate is involved in an ongoing dispute with the IRS. In a March 2024 filing, the estate noted it was woefully in debt and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy when Jackson passed away. Presently, the estate has rebounded significantly and is now valued at $2 billion, according to Black Enterprise.

The extent of Jackson’s financial struggles extended beyond mere debt. There were “more than half a dozen lawsuits pending worldwide,” and over “65 creditors’ claims were filed against the estate, leading to additional lawsuits,” notes the petition. This paints a picture of just how entangled his finances were in legal troubles globally.

The executors made significant strides in mitigating these financial problems by “renegotiating and restructuring financing arrangements.” Part of their strategy involved a substantial deal with Sony over rights to music published by various artists that Jackson controlled.

However, despite these measures, the estate still faces several financial obligations. The ongoing IRS dispute is a substantial impediment, impacting Jackson’s family. Currently, his mother and children are financially supported by an allowance from the estate. Jackson’s mother, Katherine, being a lifetime beneficiary, has received a cumulative $55 million since his death 15 years ago. Jackson’s children, Paris, Prince, and Bigi, are yet to gain access to their trust funds due to the ongoing IRS issues.

It’s important to note that while the IRS dispute prevents his children from accessing their funds now, it will not affect the amount they eventually receive once the issue is resolved. The estate filed to reassure that the outcome of this dispute wouldn’t change their future financial prospects.
His estate has resolved some of the ongoing financial woes / Everett Collection

Ultimately, Michael Jackson’s career was marked by unparalleled success and deep financial pitfalls. His untimely death unveiled the severe economic crises he battled, leaving his estate to navigate and resolve his monetary challenges. Though substantial progress has been made, the shadow of financial distress still looms over his legacy and continues to affect his family.

Source: NBC, Black Enterprise