The Los Angeles Superior Court today gave control of Michael Jackson's estate and assets to a pair of co-executors that the King of Pop named in his 2002 will, CNN reports. Initially after Jackson's death, a judge declared his mother Katherine Jackson both the guardian of Michael's children and the temporary administrator of Michael's estate. Today's ruling gives co-executors John Branca (Jackson's personal attorney) and John McClain (a music industry exec and a longtime friend of Michael) immediate control of Jackson's assets, which will benefit Katherine Jackson, Michael's three children and unnamed charities.
According to TMZ, the courtroom was a battleground for the lawyers representing the co-executors and the lawyers representing Katherine Jackson, who questioned Branca's relationship with Jackson in recent months. However, the judge ruled that the 2002 will took precedent over any other factors and named Branca and McClain co-executors until another hearing on August 3rd. Barry Siegel, Jackson's former accountant who was also named as a co-executor in the will, resigned from his executor board post in 2003, Rock Daily reported last week. Branca's lawyer also presented a letter written by Michael Jackson just eight days before he died reiterating his desire for Branca to take control of his assets.
Under the judge's ruling, Branca and McClain do not have to get Katherine's approval when dealing with business decisions, however Katherine's lawyer could object to those decisions and new ventures made on behalf of Michael Jackson would be subject to court approval. The judge asked the co-executors to keep Katherine in the loop, however.
The court battle also revealed that Jackson's will had a "no contest" clause, meaning that if any party named in the 2002 will challenges how the money was distributed, they would receive nothing from the Michael Jackson Family Trust. Jackson's children and Katherine Jackson would both receive 40 percent of the Trust, while the children's charities would get 20 percent, TMZ writes.
• Michael Jackson's Will Filed, Names Diana Ross as Guardian
• Michael Jackson's Mother Granted Temporary Custody of Children
• Reports Question Paternity of Michael Jackson's Children
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies