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Michael Jackson's death: Lawyer for Jackson family says no will has surfaced

June 28, 2009 |  9:23 pm

A lawyer identified by Michael Jackson's father, Joe, as the family attorney told CNN on Sunday night that he has not seen a will for the pop singer. The attorney also said the singer's mother would seek custody of his children.

"Well, there have been reports of [a will], and we are trying to assess that now," said New York-based attorney L. Londell McMillan."None has been presented to the family at this time."

McMillan made the comments Sunday night outside the Shrine Auditorium, ahead of what are all but certain to be protracted legal battles over the singer's estate and custody of his children.

Earlier, Joe Jackson issued a statement that was read on the red carpet at the BET Awards. He said he and his wife, Katherine, had the sole personal and legal authority to act on behalf of "our son and his children." He also identified McMillan as the family lawyer.

If there is no will, Jackson's assets would go to his next of kin under California law. Katherine Jackson would be appointed to oversee the best interests of the children.

Legal experts have told The Times that a fight over Jackson’s children is almost inevitable and that the pop star's former wife, Debbie Rowe, is most likely to get custody of the two children she had with the singer.

Rowe initially waived her parental rights. But she later changed her mind, and an appeals court ruled that she was the legal mother of Prince Michael Jr., 12, and 11-year-old Paris Michael Katherine.

Prince Michael II, who is 7 and Jackson's youngest son, was conceived by a surrogate mother, who could claim custody of him. McMillan said Rowe did not have custody and that Jackson's children were "in a loving environment" at the Jackson family's San Fernando Valley estate.

--Andrew Blankstein