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In Estate Planning, Take a Lesson From MJ

He knew what he was doing—and we should follow his example
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2009 2:08 PM CDT
In Estate Planning, Take a Lesson From MJ
Lawyer John Branca, right, co-executor of Michael Jackson's estate, and lawyer Howard Weitzman speak to each other during a news conference outside the Superior court in Los Angeles, July 6, 2009.    (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

(Newser) – Michael Jackson wasn't known for his financial prudence, but he got one thing right: his estate planning, writes Jane Bennett Clark for Kiplinger. Here’s how to follow his good example:

  • Write a will: Two-thirds of Americans don’t. Jackson’s is concrete: His kids get 40% of his estate, his mother gets 40%, and 20% goes to charity.

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  • Set up a living trust: In most cases it protects the assets it covers from going through probate after you die. You keep control as a trustee.
  • Pick a guardian for your kids: Jackson tapped his mother, with Diana Ross as a backup. Courts usually follow these instructions.
  • Choose a good legal team to run the show: Jackson picked a “top-notch lawyer” and a “savvy business executive” as his will’s co-executors and co-trustees of his family trust.
(Read more Michael Jackson stories.)

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