The past week has been filled with media speculation about Michael Jackson and his will: Did he have one and what might be in it? Well the waiting is finally over… kind of. It turns out Michael Jackson did create a will, which was submitted to the California probate courts earlier this week. The will (which can be viewed here) is five pages long, and because it pours “my entire estate” into the Michael Jackson Family Trust, the will itself reveals very little about the specifics Jackson’s estate or his instructions regarding the administration of it.
A will, although it can remain private during your life, becomes a matter of public record once it is submitted to the probate courts after your death. In fact, the last wills and testaments of many public figures can be found online if you’re curious. But a trust is a private document, and remains private even after your death.
Jackson’s will does reveal a few details, though, namely who he chose as guardian for his children. In paragraph 8 of his will, on page 4, just above his signature, Jackson states:
“If any of my children are minors at the time of my death, I nominate my mother, KATHERINE JACKSON as guardian of the persons and estates of such minor children. 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.”
Whether Jackson’s wishes for guardianship will be followed remains to be seen. As Jackson’s ex-wife and mother of his two oldest children, Deborah Rowe would normally automatically be awarded custody. However, there are still too many unanswered questions about the status of Rowe’s parental rights—and her desire to assert those rights—to make any claims for certain.
The one thing that is certain, however, is that whatever odd and inexplicable things Jackson may have done during his life; he seems to have done what he should to provide for his family’s financial needs and their privacy after his death.
Have you done the same?