LOS ANGELES — Their dad was the King of Pop, but Michael Jackson’s three kids remain paupers on paper.
The planned trust fund for Prince, Paris and Blanket remains empty three years after Jackson’s tragic demise, despite almost $600 million generated posthumously from Jackson’s music, legendary likeness and salvaged assets.
Lawyers and accountants are still sorting through the singer’s towering pile of debts and legal bills, and the process could take another two to five years, one lawyer told the Daily News.
In the meantime, Jackson’s kids live on a family allowance tightly controlled by estate executors and overseen by a judge.
“The probate is still pending, and although almost all of Michael’s personal debt has been or is about to be paid in full, the estate is technically still in debt,” estate lawyer Howard Weitzman said. “Once all of the creditors’ claims, taxes and pending litigations have been resolved, the trusts will be funded per court order.”
He declined to speculate on the size of the leftover fortune expected to flow into the trust fund.
“(It’s) too early to speculate on any precise number for a value. It will be a substantial number, I’m certain,” Weitzman said.
Incredibly, estate lawyers still have to deal with upward of $100 million in financial responsibilities.
The “Michael Jackson Family Trust” calls for the singer’s three kids to share 50% of the trust balance, with the other half going to the Gloved One’s mother, Katherine Jackson, during her lifetime.
Katherine — the kids’ 82-year-old guardian and co-estate administrator — has not received a dime from her portion of the trust, either.
She, too, remains on an allowance, and the financial situation has sparked issues among some members of the Jackson clan, who went to war over Katherine this summer.
Michael’s disinherited brothers Randy and Jermaine and sisters Janet and Rebbie whisked Katherine away to an Arizona spa for “health reasons” and demanded estate executors John Branca and John McClain resign, citing alleged fraud.
Paris, 14, waged a scathing Twitter campaign to get her grandmother home, and a judge temporarily stripped Katherine of guardianship.
Michael’s siblings claimed their actions weren’t motivated by money, but another source told The News some relatives want to accelerate Katherine’s access to Michael’s cash because she most likely would share the wealth with them before she dies.
“To some of Katherine’s children, this is a shocking situation. They see on paper that Michael has made $600 million and cannot understand why all of it is not going to the family,” a separate source told The News. “This has been the case for a long time. They always think the worst is happening and people are taking money.”
Michael’s children may be broke on paper, but they enjoy a lavish lifestyle in a gated mansion with private schooling, round-the-clock security and vacations — all at a cost of more than $70,000 a month.
In the long term, Prince, 15; Blanket, 10, and Paris will end up multimillionaires thanks to their dad’s enduring popularity, his purchase of a 50% stake in the Sony/ATV music catalogue that owns much of the Beatles’ iconic music and shrewd business deals by his estate.
Since Michael’s death, the executors have turned his legacy into a moneymaking machine with lucrative music, theatrical and merchandising deals.
On Michael’s orders, Prince, Paris and Blanket will each have to wait until they’re 21 to touch their riches — but by then they will land whopping regular handouts.
They get lump sums at ages 30, 35 and 40, the trust states.
Blanket could walk off with $250 million when he reaches the big 4-0.
In the meantime, the kids appear to be thriving.
Since Michael died, “multiple millions of dollars from (estate) earnings have been spent for the children and for Mrs. Jackson as well,” Weitzman said.
Katherine Jackson’s lawyer Perry Sanders also is seeking an audit of the estate’s earnings.
“My audit is being done to see the details of where the money is coming from and where it is going,” he said. “The beneficiaries should be entitled to all detailed documentation so they can see what their money is paying for.”
Planned trust fund for Michael Jackson’s children remains empty three years after King of Pop’s tragic demise
In the meantime, Prince, Paris and Blanket live on a family allowance tightly controlled by estate executors and overseen by a judge.
September 3, 2012, 2:00 AM
New York Daily News