July 6, 2009
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge says Michael Jackson's longtime attorney and a family friend should take over the singer's estate.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued his ruling after a court hearing Monday morning. Attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain had been designated in Jackson's 2002 will as the people he wanted to administer his estate.
Jackson died June 25, deeply in debt. But a court filing estimates his estate will be worth more than $500 million.
The singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, had applied to oversee her son's estate, but that was before the will surfaced. Her attorney, Burt Levitch, expressed concerns about McClain and Branca's financial leadership.
Levitch told Beckloff that Branca had previously been removed from financial positions of authority by Jackson. Branca's attorney says he was rehired by Jackson on June 17, days before Jackson's death.
Katherine Jackson did not appear at Monday's hearing. Branca did attend.
Branca and McClain will have to post a $1 million bond on the estate, Beckloff ruled. Their authority over the estate will expire Aug. 3, when another hearing on the estate will be held.
Katherine Jackson's attorneys had asked that she be appointed to serve as a co-administrator with Branca and McClain.
Beckloff did not grant that request. Beckloff is now considering which powers over the estate to give to McClain and Branca. He will take that issue up after a short recess.
A public memorial has been scheduled for Jackson in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday.
(Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.)