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Jackson's mom gets children;Diana Ross takes them next

MICHAEL Jackson's 7-year-old will was filed yesterday in a Los Angeles court, giving his estate to a family trust and naming his mother as a beneficiary of the trust and guardian of his three children.

The will names singer Diana Ross as a successor guardian to 79-year-old Katherine Jackson if necessary.

The will, dated July 7, 2002, estimated his estate at that time at more than US$500 million. It gives the entire estate to the Michael Jackson Family Trust. Former wife Debbie Rowe is cut out of the will.

The documents 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."

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

Jackson, who died last Thursday at age 50, left behind three children: son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and son Prince Michael II, 7. Rowe was the mother of the two oldest children; the youngest was born to a surrogate mother, who has never been identified. The children are named in the will.

Jackson's health was a concern in his final days. Nutritionist Cherilyn Lee, who was working with the singer as he prepared his comeback bid, said Jackson was so distraught over persistent insomnia in recent months that he pleaded for a powerful sedative, despite warnings it could be harmful.

But photographer Kevin Mazur who took pictures of Jackson's rehearsals two days before his death said he looked "100 percent."

Meanwhile, heavy construction equipment and workers passed through the wrought-iron gates of Neverland Ranch on Tuesday, fueling speculation that it could soon be hosting Jackson's funeral.

Fearing the narrow, two-lane Figueroa Mountain Road that runs past Neverland will be overwhelmed by media and fans, county officials said yesterday that they'll start enforcing parking restrictions.


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