Have You Ever Wanted To Leave Your Children to Diana Ross? Michael Jackson Did (Sort Of)…Did He Know Anything About Child Custody Laws in California Though?

These are not the heirs in question.

Michael Jackson died five years ago this past week, leaving a will nominating his mother as guardian of his children, with Diana Ross as alternate. While the Jacksons may not be a model for stable familial harmony, this particular case offers examples and reminders of key issues to consider in planning for your children’s future.  With some variations, his wishes have been followed by the court.  You can check out his will yourself:  http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_documents/jackson_will.pdf

Unfortunately, often a parent will leave no will and no nomination of a guardian, leaving survivors to guess as to the parent’s wishes. Although designating a guardian does not guarantee that the court will follow a parent’s wishes, the court must consider and “give due weight” to a parent’s nomination and wishes. In addition, a parent may wish to nominate a guardian even if the child would still have a living parent. There are numerous reasons why this might be the case, including if a child is estranged from one parent or there is a history of domestic violence in the family. If you think this may be applicable in your situation, please consult an attorney.

Jackson successfully nominated his mother as guardian of his three children even though at least two of his children’s mother, his ex-wife Debbie Rowe, is still alive. In appointing a guardian, if a living parent objects to the nominated guardian, the court does not need to find that the living parent is “unfit.” Instead the court attempts to determine the “best interests of the child.” In this case, Rowe apparently did not object to Katherine Jackson’s guardianship petition. According to Huffington Post, Rowe is “monitoring” the situation until she feels the need to intervene.

As part of your estate plan, consider who you might want to nominate as guardian of your child or children. This will obviously take more effort, contemplation, and emotional work than, for example, who gets your car.  It is also advisable to discuss your decision and your wishes with your nominee or nominees to make sure that they are willing and able to assume that responsibility. For both legal and emotional reasons, it is best if there is an existing close relationship between your nominee and your child.

Otherwise, there’s always Diana Ross (Not recommended).

For further reading:





MJ In happier times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdLZITiZ2VQ

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