Michael Jackson’s 2002 will has finally been revealed.
In the document, dated July 7, 2002, the pop superstar named his mother, Katherine Jackson, as the guardian of his three children – Prince Michael, 12; Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and Prince Michael II, 7.
Should his mother not be able to care for the children, Jackson named a fellow music superstar as the next in line to have custody of his kids.
“If Katherine Jackson fails to survive me, or is unable or unwilling to act as guardian, I nominate Diana Ross as guardian of the persons and estates of such minor children,” the will, signed by Michael Joseph Jackson, stated.
Ross was a lifelong friend of the star and helped launched the career of the Jackson 5.
When it comes to the King of Pop’s financial assets, which were estimated at the time to be worth more than $500 million, Jackson left his entire estate to the Michael Jackson Family Trust.
“All such assets shall be held, managed and distributed as part of said Trust,” he noted in the will.
According to the will, Jackson’s estate consisted largely of “non-cash, non-liquid assets, including primarily an interest in a catalog of music royalty rights which is currently being administered by Sony ATV, and the interests of various entities.”
One of Jackson’s most lucrative assets is his stake in the Sony-ATV Music Publishing Catalog, which includes music by such acts as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga and The Jonas Brothers – the catalog is estimated to be worth approximately $2 billion.
While the Trust appears to include Jackson’s children, according to an attachment to the document, it appears ex-wife Debbie Rowe is not included in the Trust.
“Except as otherwise provided in this will or in the trust referred to in Article III hereof, I have intentionally omitted to provide for my heirs,” the will continued. “I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Rowe Jackson.”
On the attachment, Jackson’s three children, along with his mother and the three named co-executors of his estate – attorney John Branca, family friend John McClain and Barry Siegel – are all designated as members of the Michael Jackson Family Trust.
There is no mention of his father, Joe, or the star’s siblings.
“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,” estate co-executors Branca and McClain said in a joint statement.