It has become an inevitability that just when you think the controversy surrounding Michael Jackson's estate has finally quieted, yet another issue appears in the news. This time it is another lawsuit filed over alleged wrongdoing of the estate's administrators.
Michael Jackson's estate has been a difficult one to say the least. It has faced problems with the IRS and a seemingly endless list of those with legal claims against the estate.
The latest problem is a lawsuit filed over an alleged contract that Jackson is said to have entered into with the deceased filmmaker Raju Patel.
According to Patel's father, Jackson and Patel were close friends who founded a film company together and who agreed to split any profits equally. Jackson is supposed to have wanted to create a film to thank fans who still believed in him after he faced charges of child molestation.
In 2005, a contract was agreed to for Patel to make this film, but Patel passed away three months later. As his successor, Patel's father allegedly has the contractual rights to make the film. However, the film cannot be made because Jackson's estate is not allowing access to the necessary video footage of Jackson and the rights to use his music.
The Guardian reported this story in "Michael Jackson Estate Sued for Blocking Fan Tribute Film."
While Jackson's estate claims that this lawsuit is meritless, it could be a real problem for the estate. If Jackson did enter into a valid contract with Patel to create the film, then the estate is bound by that contract.
The estate administrators cannot simply disregard the contract because they do not like it as much as Jackson did. However, since this lawsuit was just filed, it will be some time before it is known which side in this case is in the right.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: Guardian (Dec. 4, 2015) "Michael Jackson Estate Sued for Blocking Fan Tribute Film."