What Happened To Michael Jackson’s $500 Million Fortune After He Died?

Michael Jackson left this world 13 years ago.

On June 25, 2009, the world mourned the death of one of music’s most enduring icons.

Michael Jackson fans during a memorial for the singer in Harlem last July
What Happened To Michael Jackson’s $500 Million Fortune After He Died?(Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

In Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was born. Jackson joined the family band The Jacksons 5 at a young age.

In the 1970s, his career took off. According to reports, between 1985 and 1995, the King of Pop had an annual net worth of $50 to $100 million.

Michael Jackson’s Net Worth

Michael Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, actor, producer, and philanthropist who died with a net worth of -500 million. Though his estate would go on to earn nearly $2 billion in the decade following his death, Michael was technically in debt to the tune of $500 million at the time of his death due to decades of overspending and overborrowing. He has sold over 750 million albums worldwide, including 35 million in the year following his death.

Between 1985 and 1995, Michael Jackson earned between $50 and $100 million per year from touring, record sales, endorsements, and merchandise. Regrettably, Michael spent the money as quickly as he earned it. His extravagant lifestyle costs around $50 million per year to maintain. He paid his baby mama Debbie Rowe $12 million, spent another $20 million settling a child molestation case, and spent tens of millions on attorneys. Neverland Ranch cost $19.5 million to purchase and another $10 million to maintain. He spent $35 million transforming the property into his own amusement park. There were also Bentleys, antiques, art, exotic animals, and those famous diamond-encrusted gloves.

Net Worth at Death

Michael Jackson’s net worth at the time of his death was technically negative $500 million. Michael once took a $380 million loan from Bank of America to finance his lifestyle, using his 50% ownership stake in the music publishing company Sony/ATV as collateral. The interest alone on that loan was in the tens of millions of dollars per year. He blew through the entire $380 million plus $120 million in a matter of years. As a result, when Michael Jackson died in 2009, he was $500 million in debt.

Jackson Estate Net Worth Following His Death

Ironically, Michael’s death was probably the best thing that ever happened to his finances. Since his death on June 25, 2009, he has consistently been the world’s highest-earning dead celebrity. Michael’s executors began working to shore up the pop star’s finances almost immediately after his death. They immediately sold Michael’s future music rights to Sony for $250 million, the largest record deal in history at the time. His lawyers also combed through thousands of hours of personal home video from the last year of his life to create the film “This Is It,” which was released in theaters worldwide. To date, the film has grossed more than $500 million.

Read also: How Did Whitney Houston’s Fortune Become -$25 Million?

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