Michael Jackson died with $500 million in debt


Pop superstar Michael Jackson's debts and creditors' claims totaled more than $500 million at the time of his death in 2009, according to a court document filed by his estate that details his financial troubles during the final days of his life.

Jackson owed tour promoter AEG about $40 million, according to a filing made this month in Los Angeles County Superior Court and first reported by People magazine. The filing said 65 creditors made claims against the singer after his death, some of which resulted in lawsuits, and some of his debt was accruing interest “at extremely high interest rates.”

Representatives for the Jackson estate, which is executed by John Branca and John McClain, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The estate filed court papers as a request to authorize payments of about $3.5 million to several law firms for their work in the second half of 2018.

In their application filed in the court, the executors have said that they have cleared the debt of the estate and almost all the claims and litigation of the creditors have been settled.

Jackson earned hundreds of millions of dollars in the 1980s and 1990s as the producer of some of the best-selling albums of all time, as well as spectacular concert tours that filled stadiums around the world. He purchased the Beatles' song catalog for $47.5 million in 1985 and later sold it to Sony/ATV Music in exchange for a 50 percent stake in the company. Sony bought back the estate's share in 2016 for $750 million.

But when Jackson died at the age of 50, shortly before embarking on a live residency called 'This Is It', he left behind a complex web of assets and liabilities.

Jackson was known for his lavish lifestyle and his reckless spending habits. He ran up millions of dollars in debt from his Neverland Ranch estate in Southern California and was fond of expensive artwork, jewelry and private jets. A forensic accountant testified during his 2013 wrongful death trial that he was paying more than $30 million a year in interest, which AEG won.

The Jackson estate is currently in a dispute with the IRS following a tax audit. In a separate court filing this year, the estate said the federal agency accused it of undervaluing its properties and said it owed “an additional $700 million in taxes and penalties.”

Kirsten Noyes Contributed to research.


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