Jackson will sets family trust, funeral undecided

Wed Jul 1, 2009 5:08pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lawyers for Michael Jackson filed the pop star's 2002 will in court on Wednesday that puts his multimillion-dollar estate in a family trust for his three children and his mother, but were denied a bid to take immediate control of his music fortune.

Funeral plans remained undetermined, and Jackson's family said in a statement that no public or private ceremony would be held at the singer's Neverland Valley ranch in central California.

The will, signed in 2002, values Jackson's estate at more than $500 million and puts his assets in the Michael Jackson Family Trust, which ultimately benefits his three children, his mother and unnamed charities.

The will names Jackson's mother, Katherine, 79, as guardian of the children: Prince Michael Jackson Jr. 12, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11, and Prince Michael Joseph Jackson, II, 7. If she cannot fulfill the guardianship duties, pop singer Diana Ross, formerly of the Supremes and a long-time Jackson friend, is nominated to be guardian of the children.

The five-page document said "I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Rowe Jackson."

On Monday, before the will was filed, Katherine Jackson was named temporary guardian of the children and administrator of the estate by a Los Angeles court until a hearing on July 6.

The 2002 document names Los Angeles-based attorney John Branca, a long-time Jackson lawyer, and music industry executive John McClain as co-executors. A third co-executor named in the will has since resigned.

Lawyers for Branca and McClain asked a judge on Wednesday to immediately appoint them executors and overturn Katherine Jackson's temporary administration of the estate, but the judge denied their request.   Continued...

<p>A memorial is seen as people wait in line to enter the Michael Jackson public memorial at Apollo Theater in New York June 30, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>