A will for Michael Jackson has surfaced and is expected in court soon, a lawyer for the family said Tuesday, countering their previous claim that he died without such a document.
"My clients are now aware after filings that a will has been presented," said L. Londell McMillan. "His various advisers over time are looking for additional documents."
No further details were disclosed, and a copy of the document was not immediately available.
The word came just a day after the family said in court documents it believed the entertainer had died without a valid will. That could complicate a petition by Jackson's mother Katherine to become the administrator of his lucrative, but debt-encumbered estate.
A will almost always names an executor, and if validated, it would negate the petition of Jackson's mother to control the estate, said John Novogrod, an estate lawyer and partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in New York.
"If there is a will and if the will is a valid will, the whole petition to be named administrator will just fall away," Novogrod said.
Jackson was recently in shaky financial health. In the most detailed account yet of the singer's tangled financial empire, documents obtained by The Associated Press show Jackson claimed to have a net worth of $236.6 million as of March 31, 2007. But less than $700,000 of that amount was in cash _ a relatively paltry sum given his opulent lifestyle, prodigious borrowing and seven-figure shopping sprees.
Meanwhile, Sheriff's Lt. Butch Arnoldi said authorities met Tuesday based on speculation over a possible memorial at Neverland, but Jackson's family had yet to reach out to them for assistance with any kind of memorial.
"We have not been contacted by any member of the family or any representative of the family, talking about or requesting any kind of event," he said.
Neverland is located in the rolling hills of central California's wine country, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles. A public funeral there on a busy holiday weekend could bring the rural area's roads to a standstill.
A statement from Santa Barbara County officials said the county "cannot confirm that any such funeral or memorial plans for Michael Jackson will occur here despite widespread reports today by the news media that a funeral or memorial event is planned for the area."
California Highway Patrol spokesman Rick Quintero said the CHP had not received a request for a motorcade.
"They would definitely need to notify us because it's going to impact the motoring public," Quintero said.
In an open letter to the Santa Barbara community, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., who set up a joint venture with Jackson that took ownership of the 2,500-acre (1,000-hectare) property, warned residents that the world will quickly descend on Santa Barbara and Neverland as fans grieve.
"We must also prepare to accommodate Michael's family's wishes as they contemplate the location of his final resting place and their own return to the tranquil grounds of the Michael Jackson family compound."
It was unclear whether Jackson could be 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.
He was 29 and at the height of his popularity when he bought the ranch, naming it after the mythical land of Peter Pan, where boys never grow up. There, he surrounded himself with animals, rides and children.
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.
Meanwhile, Jackson fans converged on New York City's famed Apollo Theater Tuesday 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.
The Rev. Al Sharpton gave a rousing speech praising the pop star to hundreds of fans who crammed into the theater as others waited in line outside to pay their respects.
"Michael made young men and women all over the world imitate us," Sharpton said. "Before Michael, we were limited and ghettoized. But Michael put on a colorful military outfit, he pulled his pants up, he put on the one glove, and he smashed the barriers of segregated music."
Associated Press writers Michael R. Blood, Noaki Schwartz, Jacob Adelman, Ryan Nakashima, Anthony McCartney and Thomas Watkins in Los Angeles; Michelle Rindels in Santa Barbara; and Jennifer Peltz and Stevenson Jacobs in New York contributed to this report.