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Thu 2 Jul 2009 12:35 AM

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Jackson names Diana Ross as possible guardian in will

Details of Michael Jackson's will emerged Wednesday, but funeral plans remained sketchy.

Details of Michael Jackson's will began to emerge on Wednesday with all of his multimillion-dollar estate being placed in a family trust, even as plans for his highly anticipated funeral remained sketchy.The will, signed in 2002, estimates his estate at that time to be worth in excess of $500 million and was filed with a Los Angeles Court. In it, Jackson leaves his entire estate to the Michael Jackson Family Trust, which ultimately benefits his three children, mother and unnamed charities.

Jackson's 79-year-old mother, Katherine Jackson, is nominated to be guardian of Jackson's children Prince Michael I, 12, Paris Michael Katherine, 11 and Prince Michael II, 7, and if she should be unwilling and unable to be guardian, Jackson nominated his friend, pop star Diana Ross, to be the children's guardian.

The five-page document said "I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife, Deborah Rowe Jackson."

The will names Los Angeles-based attorney John Branca, a long-time Jackson counsel, and music industry executives John McClain and accountant Barry Siegel as co-executors, but Siegel resigned as a co-executor in 2003, leaving the administration of the will to Branca and McClain.

Jackson's will has been the subject of much speculation since the pop star died last Thursday, age 50, after suffering cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home.

The pop star whose 1982 record "Thriller" is the best-selling album of all time left behind an estate that includes part ownership in a Beatles music catalog and his own music company that held rights to some of his music.

He was said to be as much as $500 million in debt when he died, but his assets have been reported to be worth as much as $1 billion. That value could rise over time if his popularity in death grows, as with other entertainers like Elvis Presley.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that Jackson's body will not be buried at his Neverland Ranch in Central California due to legal regulations about private residence burials.

California Highway Patrol spokesman, officer Miguel Luevano, told Reuters that late on Tuesday, CHP officials did meet with Jackson's family.

The CHP and Jacksons "discussed some options, and at this point the family has still to decide what they want to do and where they want to go," Luevano said.

A spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, David Sadecki, said his office was still planning "as if something was going to take place tomorrow" but he had no further details and added that his office has not talked directly to Jackson's family.

The Times said plans for a memorial service may be shifted to Los Angeles' huge Staples Center arena, but that could not immediately be confirmed. (Reuters)

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