Michael Jackson's will was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday (July 1), revealing the late singer's wishes for his estate and the three children he left behind.
In the will, which was drafted in 2002, Jackson called for family attorney John Branca, accountant Barry Siegel and music executive and longtime friend John McClain to serve as co-executors of the Michael Jackson Family Trust, an estate established to manage all of the King of Pop's assets. According to The Associated Press, Jackson estimated his worth at more than $500 million at the time he completed his will. Documents obtained by the AP reveal Jackson's estate consisted of "non-cash, non-liquid assets, including primarily an interest in a catalogue of music royalty rights which is currently being administered by Sony ATV, and the interests of various entities."
The original documents were prepared for Jackson to sign on March 22, 2002, but the pop star — who died unexpectedly last Thursday after suffering from cardiac arrest — didn't complete the paperwork until July 7, 2002.
In the will, Jackson nominated his mother, Katherine Jackson, to serve as guardian of his three children. On Monday, a judge granted Katherine temporary custody of the children, Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., 12; Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11; and Prince Michael Jackson II, 7. In the event Jackson's mother was unable or unwilling to care for the children, the singer then called for Diana Ross, an early mentor to Jackson, to be the guardian of his kids.
Debbie Rowe, Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of his first two children, was specifically omitted from the will. The mother of Jackson's third child remains unknown.
"I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Jean Rowe Jackson," the will states.
As co-executors of the Michael Jackson Family Trust, Branca, McClain and Siegel have the right to sell or mortgage any property Jackson owns and to invest state funds as necessary. They will probably have their hands full with the host of lawsuits and debt Jackson left behind.
Branca and McClain issued a joint statement to the press earlier today, reiterating Jackson's desire for his children to be placed under his mother's care.
"The most important element of Michael's will is his unwavering desire that his mother, Katherine, become the legal guardian for his three children," the statement said. "As we work to carry out Michael's instructions to safeguard both the future of his children, as well as the remarkable legacy he left us as an artist we ask that all matters involving his estate be handled with the dignity and the respect that Michael and his family deserve."
According to TMZ, Siegel resigned from his role as executor in 2003.
The will states that if one of the men refuses to serve as co-executor, a replacement does not need to be named. Should all three men decline, together they could nominate a new executor.
There is no mention by Jackson in the will of where or how he wished to be buried.
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit "Michael Jackson Remembered."
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