by Brian Mahany
Even years after his death, controversy still haunts Michael Jackson. No sooner was Michael buried, then Michael’s mother Katherine challenged his estate. Specifically, she challenged the two men who were acting as executors of the estate. That challenge was ultimately withdrawn but not before Michael’s father Joe file his own challenge. His was tossed by a court.
The last 3 years have been quiet but that has changed again.
Earlier this year, Michael’s siblings challenged the executors, John Branca and John McClain. They claim the executors are enriching themselves while ripping off the estate. celebuzz.com released a copy of alleged complaint letter signed by Tito, Jermaine, Randy and Janet.
Among their many charges, the siblings complain that they have “proof” that Michael was not in Los Angeles (where the will was signed) on the date in question. They also suggest that the will is a forgery or fraudulent will because their beloved Michael “despised” the two executors and said prior to his death that he didn’t want to have anything to do with them.
The charges advanced by Michael’s brothers and sisters are quite severe. According to a copy of the complaint obtained by celebuzz.com, “We know most certainly there is a conspiracy surrounding our brother’ death and now coarse manipulation and fear are being used to cover it up. Your heartless pursuit of wealth, fame and power is at the expense of our family, whose deepest desire is to give the world a gift of hope… You have dishonored everything our brother stood for”
Lest you immediately side with the Jackson family, some perspective is in order. First, Mom & Dad already unsuccessfully tried to attack the executors. Absent some new and powerful evidence, the court is not likely to oust Branca and McClain.
Next, the executors have been turning a nice profit. It’s much easier to complain when the executors have lost all or nearly all of the estate. In this case, published reports indicate that when the executors took over, the family business was $500 million in the red. Since the executors took charge, the business has turned around and turned a $475 million profit.
The biggest impediment to the siblings claims may be Mom. Even though she initially challenged the appointment of the executors, she has since reportedly approved an increase in Branca’s compensation. The children claim Mom knows in her heart that the will is “forged” yet will not now take action because she is afraid of “the POWERS THAT BE.”
The alleged “powers that be” and what harmful influence or threats they have made are unfortunately not defined in the letter.
We simply don’t know enough of the facts to form a professional opinion of the newest claims. Unfortunately, there is so much drama that follows Michael Jackson and the entire Jackson clan that we suspect many people don’t even care. For many Americans, probate fraud, forged wills and missing wills continue to be a serious problem, however.
Thousands of families are torn apart every year when loved ones day without a will or worse; when someone destroys the will, has a mentally incapacitated person sign a new will on their death bed or forges a signature to a fake will. Few cases make it to court as families are often so pulled apart that no one seems capable to decide on a corrective course of action.
Luckily, the courts can take action and there are laws to protect the true intended beneficiaries of an estate.
If you feel like you have been the victim of a forged will or trust document or know that some sort of fraud has taken place in the administration of an estate, don’t wait to take action. Most states have limited time periods in which to come forward and seek relief. Our fraud recovery lawyers may be able to help – – for more information, contact attorney Albert Sargent at or the author, attorney Brian Mahany at Al can also be reached direct dial at 207-576-5971.
Mahany & ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland, Maine; Minneapolis, Minnesota and Detroit, Michigan. Services available in many jurisdictions.