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Jackson's parents waste no time in battle of will

MICHAEL Jackson's parents have wasted little time demanding authority over their son's financially strained empire and guardianship of their fatherless grandchildren. The big question is who, if anyone, will contest them?

Early on Monday - just four days after the death of the King of Pop - lawyers for Katherine and Joe Jackson won temporary custody of Michael Jackson's three children and moved to become administrators of his estate.

Judge Mitchell Beckloff granted 79-year-old Katherine Jackson temporary guardianship of the children, who range in age from 7 to 12.

He also gave her control over some of her son's personal property now in the hands of an unnamed third party. But the judge did not immediately rule on her requests to take charge of the children's and Jackson's estates.

The Jackson family was determined to move on in order to protect the singer's legacy and make sure his three children were well, family friend and civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton said yesterday.

"They've had challenges before," Sharpton said on ABC television. "They always rallied."

The swiftness of the legal motions underscores the fact that Jackson leaves a vacuum if he died without a valid will. If no will is filed, the number of potential claimants that could emerge seeking custody of the children or a piece of his empire are many.

Jackson's parents said in documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday that there was no will.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Jackson's last will, drafted in 2002, divided the estate between his three children, his mother and some charities. The newspaper said Jackson's father, Joseph, was not believed to have been included in the will.

"No one that I know of has ever seen the will," Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman said on CBS television yesterday.

Joe Jackson said that his son's funeral was still in the planning stages.


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