The Probate Lawyer Blog featured this article about the Michael Jackson Estate several weeks ago, posing the question of whether it is ethical for estate executors to seek a 10% fee for certain business deals they reach for such a high-profile estate. It’s especially problematic when you factor in that one of the executors was Michael Jackson’s attorney.
Well, this attorney, John Branca, and his co-executor, John McClain (a music executive), just hit the mother-load. It was widely reported yesterday that they brokered a deal worth up to $250 million dollars (that’s right — one quarter of a billion dollars!). What was the deal for? Sony announced a seven-year distribution agreement for unreleased music recorded by the late King of Pop (as well as related video footage).
Yes that means that Branca and McClain earned $12.5 million each for one deal.
Why do we question this? For several reasons, actually. First, it’s the job of executors to bring in as much money as possible for an estate that has earning