But, as CBS News correspondent Priya David reported on "The Early Show" Thursday, the choices of his 79-year-old mother and 65-year-old Ross weren't a surprise for some who knew Jackson.
"I think, without a doubt, it's safe to say that Katherine Jackson and Diana Ross were two of the most influential women in Michael Jackson's life," said CBS News consultant J. Randy Taraborelli. "Michael loved these two women and when he thought about how he wanted his children to be raised he thought about his mom and how nurturing she was, and how loving she was to him and his brothers and sisters. Then he thought about Diana Ross and success as a parent of five children."
Taraborelli has written biographies on both Jackson and Ross and believes both women are great picks.
"Ross is an excellent mother. She did a great job with her kids, she'd be great with Michael's kids," he said. "Katherine Jackson is very religious. Michael thought the world of Katherine, and the two of them were very close."
But there is another possibility, David reported, if Debbie Rowe, the mother of the two oldest children may yet decide to claim parental rights.
Roger Friedman of Showbiz411.com, said Rowe has decided to wait until after the funeral before she does anything "out of respect for Michael."
Though Jackson's will is clear, it is far from clear, David said, which woman will end up raising his children.
But right now, David said, Katherine Jackson has been named the temporary guardian of the children, and they are reported to currently be with her at the family compound in Encino, Calif.