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Michael Jackson’s will leaves everything to family trust

By | Published on Thursday 2 July 2009

As expected, Michael Jackson’s will was filed with the LA court yesterday, and according to reports it requests that his entire estate be put into a trust, the beneficiaries of which will be his mother Katherine Jackson and his children. Katherine is also formally named as guardian for Jacko’s three children, with Diana Ross named as a successor guardian should anything happen to the kids’ grandmother.

As previously reported, the Jackson family initially said they didn’t believe there was a valid will, but a former business associate of the singer, John Branca, who had started working for Jacko again for the first time in years just before his death, subsequently announced he was sitting on a legitimate legal document that was drawn up in 2002. It was that five page document, signed by Jacko and initialled by the singer throughout, that was filed with the court yesterday.

Details of the Michael Jackson Family Trust described in the will have not been released. It’s thought most of the singer’s assets, as set out in the document, are of the ‘non-cash, non-liquid’ kind and, as much previously reported, the most significant will be his half of the Sony ATV music publishing company. It’s still not clear if this will need to be sold to settle the singer’s affairs.

The will named Branca, and another long term confidante of Jackson, former major label exec John McClain, as co-executors. In a joint statement they said yesterday: “The most important element of Michael’s will is his unwavering desire that his mother, Katherine, become the legal guardian for his three children. 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”.

The will provides nothing for Jackson’s ex-wife Rowe, either financially or in terms of custody rights for her regarding the couple’s two children. It is still unknown if Rowe plans to take any action to try and win custody of twelve year old Prince and eleven year old Paris.

Although she previously surrendered her parental rights to the two children, that arrangement was altered after concerns were raised by a judge, and her relationship with them are governed by a secret out of court settlement. That said, in such cases, past contractual agreements may be overruled if a court considered doing so is in the best interests of the minors. That said, TMZ’s allegations that Rowe isn’t actually Prince or Paris’ natural mother, rather she was just a surrogate, could possibly hinder any custody claim if true.