How will George Michael's money get divided after his death? His estate continues to increase in value, with sales of his music soaring nearly 2700 percent over the past week. But questions remain about who will inherit this fortune.
Nielsen Music reports that Michael's song and album sales jumped from 17,000 units to 477,000 units (rounded to the nearest thousand) in the week ending Dec. 29. Those numbers include Michael's solo efforts and his music with Wham!. Sales of his songs alone jumped from 16,000 units to 429,000 units over that time span.
George Michael's music has also returned to the charts. Three of his solo albums and one of his Wham! records climbed into the Billboard Top 200. His 2008 greatest hits album Twenty Five will appear at No. 12 next week, higher than its initial peak of No. 28. Michael/Wham! will have three songs in the top half of the Billboard Hot 100, led by "Careless Whisper" at No. 33.
Fans continue to stream George Michael's music after his death, as well. Over the last week, his solo songs and Wham! records have been streamed 50.7 million times, up from 7.8 million the week before.
"His estate could see somewhere in the vicinity of $7 to $10 million," entertainment attorney Donald David told People. "The music already, in terms of streaming and downloads, has increased significantly since news of his death."
As George Michael's estate continues to earn more money, fans are wondering who will inherit his massive fortune. Late last month, an unconfirmed report said Michael would leave the "lion's share" of his fortune to his sister Melanie Panayiotou. His other sister, Yioda Panayiotou, will also reportedly receive a large chunk of the estate.
"George was very close to his sisters, and the understanding is that they’re going to inherit most of his wealth, particularly Melanie who he was incredibly close to," a source told The Sun. "She was there at many of the big milestones in his life, and was there by his side until the very end. George was very family-orientated and even in his death he’s shown that. He was keen to see them well looked after for the future."
Michael worth between $125 million and $200 million at the time of his death. Sources think he may also have left part of his estate to his father, his boyfriend Fadi Fawaz, and his godchildren. The generous Michael may also have designated some of his money for charity.
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