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Diana Ross backup caregiver in Michael Jackson will

July 1, 2009 |  9:58 am


Michael Jackson wanted music legend Diana Ross to care for his three children in the event his mother was unable to act as guardian, according to a will he signed seven years ago.

The 2002 document was filed Wednesday morning in L.A. Superior Court by John Branca, the performer’s longtime entertainment attorney and advisor. The will appoints Branca and a music executive and family friend, John McClain, as executors of the estate.

A third executor, Barry Siegel, resigned from consideration in 2003, according to a statement released by Branca’s representatives. Lawyers for Jackson’s parents have said they obtained a copy of the July 2002 will Tuesday and are reviewing its validity.

The will bears Jackson’s signature and many paragraphs of the five-page document are initialed “MJ.” In a statement, Branca and 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.”

Branca began representing Jackson when the entertainer was 21 and guided him through the most successful period of his life, including the release of “Thriller” and his purchase of rights to a music catalog that includes the work of the Beatles and was Jackson’s biggest asset.

McClain is one of the founders of Interscope Records and according to the executors’ statement, has a 40-year relationship with the Jackson family. The will directs that all of Jackson’s assets be put in an entity called the Michael Jackson Family Trust.

--Harriet Ryan

Photo: Diana Ross performs in 2007. Credit: Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images

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