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Probate and estate litigation: "Thriller" claim settled

Many readers in Las Vegas will recall that singer Michael Jackson's death in the summer of 2009 sparked much controversy. At the time of his death, the singer was being sued by several people and owed an estimated $500 million in debts. After his death, his estate has become the subject of probate and estate litigation. This litigation has included a suit by John Landis and others regarding the world-famous music video of the song, Thriller.

The 14-minute long music video for the song, Thriller became famous in 1983. Since that time, it has been viewed millions of times and is one of the most well known music videos of all time. More recently it has gained attention as the subject of a probate litigation claim that Landis, who directed the video and others, filed claiming that they were owed payments dating back to the creation of the video.

In addition, the director asked for some rights to the use of materials surrounding Thriller. It is not clear if the probate litigation included any rights to the Cirque de Soliel production entitled Immortal, which was licensed by the estate after Jackson's death. In the end, the case was settled before completing the litigation process. The settlement terms are confidential but were amicable, a statement reported.

In Las Vegas, probate and estate litigation can result after a death when there are creditors who seek to make claims against an estate. These claims often come as a result of debts left by the individual who passed away. In this case, not only did Jackson appear to have many debts after his death, but also his estate faced multiple claims, which may have been due to the large value of his fortune. This case may serve as an example that the events that transpire over one's life have implications for after death. This is among the many reasons why estate planning is so beneficial in our state.

Source: EURweb, "Michael Jackson Estate Settles Lawsuit over 'Thriller' Video," Sept. 4, 2012

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