Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 12:13 UK

Jackson leaves estate to family

Michael Jackson
Jackson's will estimated his estate to be worth more than $500m

Michael Jackson's will has been filed in a Los Angeles court, giving his entire estate to a family trust.

The document reveals that the star "intentionally omitted" to provide for his former wife, Debbie Rowe.

Jackson's long-term friend and singer Diana Ross is named as a guardian for his three children should his mother be unable to take care of them.

Meanwhile, figures show Jackson had the three top-selling US albums last week - each shifting more than 100,000 copies.

Custody rights

The star's five-page will is dated 7 July, 2002. It estimates his estate to be worth more than $500m (£303m), and gives it to The Michael Jackson Family Trust.

The trust will benefit his three children, his mother and unnamed charities.

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In the will, Jackson states: "I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Rowe Jackson."

Rowe married Jackson in 1996 but filed for divorce in 1999. She gave up custody rights to the children but sought them again in 2003.

They agreed a settlement in 2006 but the terms were never disclosed.

She is the biological mother of Jackson's eldest children - Michael Joseph Jackson Jr, known as Prince Michael, 12, and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 11.

The singer's youngest son - seven-year-old Prince Michael II - was born to a surrogate mother whose identity has never been revealed.

Katherine Jackson was granted temporary guardianship of Jackson's three children on Monday. A court will ultimately decide who their legal guardian will be.

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'Remarkable legacy'

The will said Jackson's estate consisted almost entirely 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 most important element of Michael's will is his unwavering desire that his mother, Katherine, become the legal guardian for his three children
Executors John Branca and John McClain

That refers to the singer's share of the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalogue that includes rights to the songs of The Beatles.

The will names Jackson's lawyer John Branca and John McClain, a music executive and a family friend, as co-executors of the will.

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."

Katherine Jackson
Katherine Jackson is currently looking after the children

Meanwhile, Nielsen SoundScan, the company that tracks music sales in the US, has revealed that Jackson's Number Ones was the top-selling US album in the week to Sunday, with 108,000 copies.

It was closely followed by Essential Michael Jackson, with 102,000, and Thriller, with 101,000.

There were 2.3 million Michael Jackson tracks downloaded - the first time an artist has sold more than a million digital tracks in a week.

His albums have taken a record nine of the 10 top spots in the Billboard Top Pop Catalog Album chart.

"If anyone can move mountains and shift charts, even in death, it's Michael Jackson," said Keith Caulfield, Billboard magazine's senior chart analyst.

"After the passing of big stars, from Frank Sinatra to Jerry Garcia to George Harrison, the impact was felt on the charts but not to this degree.

"The closest [comparison] might be John Lennon or Elvis Presley, but the impact was spread out because you had to buy a physical album.

"With Michael, the impact was amplified because you could get whatever you wanted immediately online."

In the UK, Jackson's 1988 single Man In The Mirror looks set to go to number one on Sunday, replacing current chart topper Bulletproof by La Roux.

When it was first released, the single only managed to reach number 21.

On Wednesday, the Jackson family issued a statement saying that no "public or private viewing" of the singer's body would be held at Neverland.

Speculation of a viewing had prompted fans and reporters to gather outside the property, but the family said they would announce plans "regarding a public memorial" shortly.



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