Michael Jackson's estate is taking his insurance company to court to demand a $17.5 million payment.

The estate - which has been executed by attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain since a high court ruling in 2009 - claim Lloyds of London owe $17.5million on an insurance policy taken out by the 'Thriller' hitmaker against his death ahead of his 'This is it' comeback shows.

The 50 London shows were due to begin weeks after his death in June 2009, and tickets had already been sold for the event.

However, Lloyds has asked courts in Los Angeles to declare the policy null and void, claiming Michael - who passed away from acute Propofol intoxication in his rented Los Angeles home - had lied about his medical history and drug use.

Lloyd's insists the policy "was restricted to losses resulting from accident only" and point out Michael's official cause of death is listed as "homicide".

The estate are hitting back and have filed a cross-complaint saying Michael never intended to die, no matter what the official cause of death was, and they believe it still qualifies as an accident.

The estate's lawyer, Howard Weitzman, has said of Lloyds' claims: "This legal action is nothing more than an insurance company trying to avoid paying a legitimate claim by the insured."

Michael's estate are also asking for punitive damages on top of the $17.5 million they claim they are owed.