LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday appointed a new temporary guardian to Michael Jackson's three children in a dispute involving the singer's elderly mother, his siblings and his multimillion-dollar estate.
Judge Mitchell Beckloff handed temporary guardianship of Prince Michael, 15, Paris, 14, and Blanket Jackson, 10, to their cousin Tito Jackson Jr., 34, at his request. Beckloff also ordered that the children should not be removed from California without a court order.
The decision followed a chaotic week of conflicting reports over the health and whereabouts of the pop singer's mother Katherine, 82, who was reported missing by granddaughter Paris but later said by family members to be resting in Arizona at the home of one of her daughters.
Katherine Jackson was given guardianship over the children following the "Thriller" singer's death at age 50 in June 2009 of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol.
Attorneys for both Tito Jackson Jr. and Katherine Jackson raised questions at Wednesday's court hearing over whether Katherine Jackson's absence from her Los Angeles home was voluntary.
Tito Jackson Jr. is the son of Michael's brother Tito.
Five of Jackson's siblings are disputing the validity of the singer's will, which handed guardianship to Katherine Jackson and placed his music estate in the hands of two executors.
Randy Jackson and Jermaine Jackson, who are part of the group of family members disputing the will's validity, have said their mother is at the Arizona home of their sister Rebbie and resting under doctor orders.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Dale Hudson)