Michael Jackson Will: Kids to Katherine Jackson; Cuts Debbie Rowe
Michael Jackson's will was filed in an emergency hearing Wednesday, July 1, 2009. In his will, Jackson gave custody of his three children, ages 7 to 12, to Katherine Jackson, his 79-year-old mother. Upon Katherine Jackson's inability or unwillingness, custody of the children would go to singer and friend Diana Ross.
Jackson stated in his will, "I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Rowe Jackson." Deborah Rowe and Michael Jackson were married in 1996 and divorced in 1999. Rowe Jackson gave custody of their two children to Jackson, then tried to retrieve custody in 2003; the two settled in 2006 under undisclosed terms.
Jackson left his entire estate to a family trust administered by executors, which would go to his three children, Katherine Jackson, and several charities. The estate, according to his will, consists of "non-cash, non-liquid assets" and Jackson's portion of the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalogue of music royalty rights, including to those of songs by The Beatles.
The co-executors of Jackson's will are John Branca, his attorney, and John McClain, music executive and family friend.
In a statement, Mr Branca and Mr McClain said: "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."
Michael Jackson, international music icon, celebrity sensation, and known as the "King of Pop", died of cardiac arrest on June 25, 2009.