LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s family moved quickly Monday to take control of his complicated personal and financial affairs, winning temporary custody of his three children and asking a judge to name the King of Pop’s mother as administrator of his estate.
In documents filed in Superior Court, Jackson’s parents said they believe their 50-year-old son died without a valid will.
They also made it clear they believe they should take charge of both his debt-ridden but potentially lucrative financial empire and act as permanent caretakers of his three children.
Judge Mitchell Beckloff granted 79-year-old Katherine Jackson temporary guardianship of the children, who range in age from 7 to 12. He did not immediately rule on her requests to take charge of the children’s and Jackson’s estates.
Beckloff scheduled a hearing for Monday and another for Aug. 3 to consider those issues and whether Katherine Jackson should be appointed the children’s permanent guardian.
The judge later on Monday also granted Katherine Jackson the right to take control of her son’s personal property that is now in the hands of an unnamed third party.
When Jackson died Thursday, he left behind a 12-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter by his ex-wife Deborah Rowe, as well as a 7-year-old son born to a surrogate mother.
The Jackson family said the children – Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. (known as Prince Michael), Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael II – are living at the Jackson family compound in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.
“They have a long established relationship with paternal grandmother and are comfortable in her care,” the family said in court documents.
The documents state that although Rowe is the mother of the two older children, her whereabouts are unknown. The document simply listed “none” for the mother of the youngest child, Prince Michael II.
Supporting Katherine Jackson in her petition bid to administer the estate was Jackson’s father, Joe Jackson.
The Jacksons say they have not heard from Rowe since their son’s death.
Meanwhile, authorities continued to investigate Jackson’s death. Officials with the Los Angeles County coroner’s office returned to the mansion he was renting at the time of his death and left with two large plastic bags of evidence.
Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said the bags contained medication. He declined to elaborate.
Lawyers for Jackson’s cardiologist, Dr. Conrad Murray, said the physician never prescribed the powerful drugs Demerol or OxyContin for Jackson.
Attorney Matt Alford told the AP it took as long as 30 minutes for paramedics to be called after Murray found Jackson with a faint pulse and performed CPR. Murray didn’t know Jackson’s street address, Alford said.
The AP learned that Jackson had finished a video production project just two weeks before he died. The five-week project dubbed “Dome Project” could be the final finished video piece overseen by the star.
There’s also a financial bonanza to be had in the Sony/ATV Music Publishing catalog of which Jackson owned 50 percent. It is estimated to be worth as much as $2 billion.
Jackson nearly lost his Neverland to foreclosure in March. Billionaire real estate investor Thomas Barrack bailed him out, setting up a joint venture with Jackson.
The ranch’s future is uncertain, but three of Jackson’s brothers visited the estate with Barrack over the weekend.