Estate has piles of assets, loads of debt too

“It’s all a mess,” said one executive involved in Jackson’s financial affairs who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of respect for the entertainer’s family.

Jackson’s business life, like his public life, was a perplexing mass of contradictions. Unlike many performers, he was a keen negotiator and shrewd investor. But his personal finances, at least in recent years, were perpetually in tatters, as he burned through millions of dollars to maintain his Neverland ranch, go on art-buying sprees and indulge in whimsies like travelling with a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles.

“Michael never thought his personal finances were out of control,” said Alvin Malnik, a former adviser to Jackson who is the godfather of Prince Michael II, the youngest of his three children.

The big question now is what happens to his assets. Jackson’s closest representatives say it could take years to sort through the financial and legal mess left after the singer’s death.

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