Legal lesson in MJ death

July 8, 2009
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I know, I know, there’s been non-stop news coverage of the death of Michael Jackson since June 25, and the last place you’d expect to read more about him is here. But I think there is a legal lesson to be learned from his death if you’ll just hear me out – the importance of wills.

For a few days, there was talk that Jackson didn’t have a will. Turns out, he had one prepared back in 2002. My thought when hearing these discussions: Maybe this will make people following this saga create or update their wills. (Does this mean I’m starting to think like a lawyer if that’s what I immediately think about when watching the coverage?)

For some reason, when celebrities do certain things or when they die, it affects some people more profoundly and personally than if the same thing happened to a non-celebrity. Because these celebrities are on our TVs each week, on the big screen, or playing on our radios, some feel a connection to them that they may not have with neighbors or family. Let’s face it – celebrities are influential and perhaps Jackson can influence people to make a will.

I do think if he hadn’t had a will, it would be even more influential on people because the talking heads would have picked this apart and spent days, weeks, or even months talking about it as Jackson’s affairs were settled.

We, as the general public, know wills are important but the thought of actually creating one (and paying a lawyer to help make one) can be daunting and overwhelming. People put it off because creating a will signifies dealing with your mortality. Although we know we won’t live forever, no one likes to think about actually dying.

Some people have wills, but then never update them. Life happens after you create the will – you make more money, get married, get divorced, have children, etc. Perhaps what you wanted to leave to your brother before you had children you’d now rather leave to your son. Things like that.

I imagine most people watching the news and memorial service are just trying to remember a great entertainer who had a major impact on the world, but maybe a few will remember to update their wills or find a lawyer to make one.
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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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