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Jackson’s mom retains control of 2,000 items

A judge ruled Wednesday that singer Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine, will retain limited control of 2,000 items from Neverland until another hearing is held Monday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A judge ruled Wednesday that Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, will retain limited control of 2,000 items from the singer's Neverland Ranch until another hearing is held Monday.

Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff called for a speedy compromise between attorneys for Katherine Jackson and the two co-executors of Michael Jackson's will — lawyer John Branca and John McClain, a music executive and a family friend.

"I would like the family to sit down and try to make this work so that we don't have a difficult time in court," the judge said.

On Monday, Beckloff granted Katherine Jackson "slim" authority to take control of the items that had been slated for auction earlier this year. The sale was stopped after Jackson sued.

Katherine Jackson, 79, does not have the court's authority to manage her son's financial interests.

Her attorneys wrote in a court filing on Monday that the Neverland memorabilia is being held by a former Jackson representative. Beckloff said Wednesday he thought it was a valid concern that some of those items might go missing.

Still, Branca and McClain moved quickly to try to overturn Katherine Jackson's authority, saying it was granted on the mistaken assumption that Jackson died without a valid will.

Earlier, the men presented a five-page, typed will that named Katherine Jackson as the guardian of her son's three children and their estates.

But control of a trust that will control Michael Jackson's estate — estimated at more than $500 million — goes to Branca and McClain in the will.

Jackson's children, ranging in ages from 7 to 12, are named as beneficiaries of a trust.

Paul Gordon Hoffman, an attorney for Branca and McClain, told Beckloff his clients are the proper people to take over Jackson's financial affairs.

He said Katherine Jackson's attorneys had already overstepped their authority.

Another attorney for the executors, Jeryll S. Cohen, told Beckloff that Branca and McClain could negotiate a deal this week to minimize a hit to Jackson's estate from the refund of an estimated $85 million in tickets sold for a series of London concerts.

Michael Jackson had been in the late stages of preparing for those concerts when he abruptly died in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Will cuts out former wifeJackson’s 7-year-old will made his mother the guardian of his children while cutting out his former wife Debbie Rowe.

It also names entertainer Diana Ross as a successor guardian for the children and their estates if something happens to Katherine Jackson.

Ross introduced the Jackson 5 on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late 1960s and was instrumental in launching their career. She was a lifelong friend of Michael Jackson.

The will gives the entire estate to the Michael Jackson Family Trust. Details of the trust will not be made public.

California’s attorney general, who oversees charitable donations from estates, is also named as a person who must be notified. It suggests some of the trust’s proceeds could go to charity, although which ones might benefit was not clear.

The documents said Jackson’s estate consisted almost entirely of “non-cash, non-liquid assets, including primarily an interest in a catalog of music royalty rights which is currently being administered by Sony ATV, and the interests of various entities.”

One of Jackson’s most lucrative assets is his stake in the massive Sony-ATV Music Publishing Catalog, which includes music by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga and the Jonas Brothers, and is estimated to be worth as much as $2 billion. The five-page will is signed by Jackson, and each paragraph includes Jackson’s scrawling initials.

Jackson, who died June 25 at age 50, left behind three children: son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and son Prince Michael II, 7. Rowe was the mother of the two oldest children; the youngest was born to a surrogate mother, who has never been identified.

Rowe, who was married to Jackson in 1996 and filed for divorce three years later, surrendered her parental rights. An appeals court later found that was done in error, and Rowe and Jackson entered an out-of-court settlement in 2006.

Neither Rowe nor her attorneys have indicated whether she intends to seek custody of the two oldest children.

Funeral plans have not yet been announced.