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Court approves Jackson's will executors

MICHAEL Jackson's longtime attorney and a family friend should take over the pop singer's estate, a judge said yesterday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff issued his ruling after a court hearing yesterday 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 that his estate will be worth more than US$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 said he was rehired by Jackson on June 17, days before Jackson's death.

Branca and McClain will have to post a US$1 million bond on the estate, Beckloff ruled. Their authority over the estate will expire on August 3, when another hearing on the estate will be held.

"Mr Branca and Mr McClain for the next month are at the helm of the ship," Beckloff said.

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.

He stressed that Katherine Jackson should be given complete information about major transactions, but that he as the judge would grant final approval.


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