It's hard to imagine someone being able to make more money beyond the grave than someone who is touring every night and releasing new albums.
While these celebrities may be dearly departed, they clearly have not been forgotten because we still continue to help them add to their estate.
Check out the Forbes list of the top 7 highest-paid dead celebrities for 2017. Some of these may surprise you.
7. Prince $18 Million
Passing away in April 2016, Prince saw a surge of music sales after his sudden passing. His assets remain seriously under-exploited because he apparently didn't have a will at the time of his death.
6. Tom Petty $20 Million
Tom Petty suddenly passed away on October 3, 2017, just days before the eligibility period ended. His earnings reflected his past year on the road where his band was earning just over $1 million per night. He also saw a boost in music sales after his passing with people rediscovering the late artist's work.
5. Bob Marley $23 Million
The Jamaican singer rounds out the top five with substantial earnings boosted by sustainability-focused House of Marley audio products and the Marley Beverage Company. Considering he passed away in 1981, that's a pretty impressive feat.
“When we decided to start that movement, it was [to] add relevancy to who we are as a family,” says Marley’s son Rohan. “We started that to really home in on our legacy and protect what our father has given us.”
4. Elvis Presley $35 Million
While Elvis may have made fourth on the list, his annual income is up from last year's $27 million. Thanks to new Elvis Presley Memphis entertainment complex and recently opened hotel The Guesthouse at Graceland, his estate is doing just fine since his death in 1977.
3. Charles Schulz $38 Million
Peanuts creator Charles Schulz passed away more than 17 years ago, but that doesn't stop him from making the top of the list! MetLife recently retired Snoopy and Charlie Brown from their ad campaigns, but the cartoonist's contract doesn't expire until 2019.
2. Arnold Palmer $40 Million
Less than a year after his death, more than 400 stores still sell Palmer-branded apparel. AriZona Beverages produce approximately 400 million cans of its Arnold Palmer line annually as well, so his products continue to do well even after his death.
1. Michael Jackson $75 Million
For the King of Pop, his earnings pale in comparison to those of last year. He earned $825 million in 2016, which was the highest annual total of any celebrity, dead or alive. A lot of those earnings came from the sale of his half of the Sony/ATV catalogue. His $75 million total this year still places him on par with the seventeenth-best-paid living entertainer, Bruce Springsteen. Not bad for having passed away in June 2009.
What did you think of the list? Did any of them surprise you?