A flurry of activity seen at Neverland Ranch
LOS OLIVOS, Calif. (AP) -- A flurry of vehicles, heavy construction equipment and workers have been spotted going in and out of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.
More than a dozen vehicles, including a tractor, a cement mixer and a backhoe were seen Tuesday. One bore a phone number that rang at a custom ironworks company. Gardeners and police were spotted on the grounds.
There has been intense speculation since Jackson died Thursday over where and when a memorial service will be held. It's also not known where he will be buried.
Members of Jackson's family have met with officials from the police and California Highway Patrol about funeral services.
California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader says the meeting was held Tuesday afternoon and "details are still pending."
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's will gives guardianship over his children to the singer's mother and leaves all his assets in a trust fund, a person with knowledge of the document told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The word came just a day after the family said in court documents it believed the entertainer had died without a valid will and moved to take control over his estate.
The will was signed on July 7, 2002, and named as executors Jackson's longtime lawyer John Branca and John McClain, a music executive and a family friend, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the topic. The Jackson family and its lawyers are reviewing the document, the person said.
According to a statement given to CNN's "Larry King Live" on behalf of Branca and McClain, the two men are carrying out Jackson's wishes and "it is their sincere desire that Michael's affairs be handled with dignity and respect."
That designation complicates a petition by Jackson's mother Katherine to become the administrator of his lucrative, but debt-encumbered estate.
In documents filed in Superior Court on Monday, Jackson's parents say they believe their 50-year-old son died "intestate," or without a valid will.
Judge Mitchell Beckloff granted 79-year-old Katherine Jackson temporary guardianship of his three children, who range in age from 7 to 12.
He also gave her control over some of her son's personal property that is now in the hands of an unnamed third party. But the judge did not immediately rule on her requests to take charge of the children's and Jackson's estates.
Experts said the personal bankruptcy of Jackson's parents in 1999 could work against Katherine taking control of the estate.
Court documents show Katherine and Joe Jackson filed for Chapter 7 and listed nearly $24 million in debts that included court judgments, auto loans and credit cards. The only valuable asset listed was a house in Las Vegas then valued at $290,000. The bankruptcy was terminated in March 2007, but the documents gave no further details.
"I think it would be a negative factor but not necessarily a disqualifier," said Beth Kaufman, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney specializing in estate tax issues. "It could indicate that she is not capable of sound financial management."
The will surfaced on a day that members of Jackson's family met with officials from the police and California Highway Patrol about funeral services for the King of Pop.
California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader said the meeting was held Tuesday afternoon and "details are still pending."
There has been intense speculation since Jackson died Thursday over where and when a memorial service will be held.
One potential site is Jackson's Neverland Ranch, which is located in the rolling hills of central California's wine country, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Late Tuesday a large truck carrying a backhoe was seen leaving the ranch.
Officials from the local board of supervisors, the county executive and law enforcement met Tuesday to discuss the possibility of restricting parking along parts of Figueroa Mountain Road, which runs past Neverland.
County Executive William Boyer said the meeting was to prepare in case a public event was staged at the ranch, which would overwhelm the two-lane narrow road with media and fans. He said he was not in contact with the family and was not aware of their wishes.
It was unclear whether Jackson could be legally buried at the ranch. California Funeral Directors Association executive director Bob Achermann said state law would prohibit Jackson's uncremated remains from being interred at Neverland.
The state's health and safety code makes interring any uncremated remains outside of a cemetery a misdemeanor, he said. Cremated remains can be kept in a home or private mausoleum outside a cemetery, he said.
At once a symbol of Jackson's success and excesses, Neverland became the site of a makeshift memorial after his death Thursday. Scores of fans have streamed past the gated entrance to leave handwritten notes, photographs, balloons and flowers.
Jackson fled the ranch — and the country — after his acquittal on charges that he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor in 2003 at the estate after getting him drunk.
Also Tuesday, it was learned that Jackson was recently in shaky financial health. In the most detailed account yet of the singer's tangled financial empire, documents obtained by the AP show Jackson claimed to have a net worth of $236.6 million as of March 31, 2007.
Since that time both Jackson's debts and assets grew substantially — he refinanced loans later that year that increased his debt load by tens of millions of dollars, but the Sony/ATV Music Publishing joint venture he is a part of also spent hundreds of millions acquiring new songs.
Jackson's own health was a concern in his final days. A nutritionist 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.
Cherilyn Lee, a registered nurse whose specialty includes nutritional counseling, said she got a frantic phone call from Jackson four days before his death that made her fear that he somehow obtained Diprivan or another drug to induce sleep.
Lee said Jackson in the call complained that one side of his body felt hot and the other side was cold, prompting her to believe the "somebody had given him something that hit the central nervous system."
"He was in trouble Sunday and he was crying out," she said.
Meanwhile, on the other coast Tuesday, some 600 Jackson fans crammed into New York City's famed Apollo Theater for a public tribute to the performer, clutching photographs, cheering and dancing to his music at the legendary venue that launched the one-time child star's career.
"He knew he was loved, but he didn't know he was this loved," said one participant, Rosiland Sargent, 59, of West Orange, N.J.
Associated Press writers Michael R. Blood, Lynn Elber, Noaki Schwartz, Jacob Adelman, Anthony McCartney, Thomas Watkins, Daisy Nguyen and AP Music Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody in Los Angeles; Michelle Rindels in Santa Barbara; and Jennifer Peltz and Stevenson Jacobs in New York contributed to this report.
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