NEW YORK (CBS) When Michael Jackson died last year, he was struggling with massive debt and looking to a string of London concerts to revive a flagging career.
But now the financial future of his estate looks pretty sound.
Thanks to greater-than-expected music sales and a smash movie, the entertainer's estate earned more than $250 million in the year since he died.
According to the Associated Press, executors have used some of that income to pay off more than $70 million in debt, including the $5 million mortgage on the Jackson family compound in Encino, Calif. The interest payments on the remaining debt are now covered by a constant flow of cash.
The Gloved One's fortune looks to balloon, probably totaling far more than any revenue he could have expected from his planned comeback concerts last sunmer. While the shows never took shape, "This Is it," a film based on concert rehearsal footage, grossed $252 million globally.
A posthumous deal with Sony Music to sell unreleased Jackson recordings has guaranteed the Jackson estate $200 million over a seven-year period. It has already brought in $125 million to Jackson's estate.
Jackson's three children need not worry about the size of their trust funds either. A nostalgia buzz has triggered the sale worldwide of more than 31 million Jackson albums. The buzz around Jackson may only grow as new generations discover his work .
In comparison to other deceased pop stars, the King of Pop is doing relatively well. He's on par with icons like Elvis Presley and Yves Saint Laurent. Presley has had posthumous earnings flowing into his "Graceland" estate for decades. The Associated Press reported in 2007 that Presley's brand earned $52 million - beating out many living acts including Justin Timberlake and Madonna.
Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent was at the top of Forbes magazine's list of "Top-Earning Dead Celebrities" in 2009, with $350 million in after-death revenue. Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley were third and fourth at $90 million and $50 million, respectively.