As expected, last Thursday Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff reinstated Katherine Jackson as the guardian of Michael Jackson's children, Prince, Paris and Blanket. Katherine will serve as the guardian of the children's property alongside her grandson, Tito Joseph ("TJ") Jackson, who will serve as the guardian of their person: Katherine Jackson and TJ Jackson Will Request Co-Guardianship of Michael Jackson's Children. The arrangement is temporary in order to see how it goes and could be made permanent in the future.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the guardianship controversy, three of Michael's siblings - Janet, Randy and Rebbie - have vowed to continue their fight to find out the truth about Michael Jackson's 2002 Last Will and Testament that was admitted to probate shortly after his death in June 2009. The will was allegedly signed by Michael Jackson at 5:00 pm on July 7, 2002, in Los Angeles, California, but there are reports that Michael was thousands of miles away in New York on that date. According to a statement released by Janet Jackson's attorney, Blair G. Brown, "The executors have never explained how Michael could have signed his will in California on a date that irrefutable evidence establishes he was in New York."
There are very specific legal formalities that must be observed when a will is signed, otherwise the will will be deemed invalid. One of those formalities is the requirement that the witnesses to a will must be in the room with the person making the will when the document is signed - that's why they are signing as witnesses, to confirm that they actually saw the person making the will sign it in their presence. In the case of Michael Jackson's July 2002 will, two of the three witnesses happen to be John McClain and Barry Siegel, who also happen to be two of the three people Jackson named to serve as his co-executors in the will (Siegel later declined to serve as an executor, but John McClain, along with John Branca, currently serve as the co-executors). With someone as high profile as Michael Jackson, it would have been a smart move for his attorneys to insist that three completely disinterested witnesses watch Michael sign his will, but that did not happen.
According to the statement released by Blair G. Brown, "It is important to stress that Janet, Randy and Rebbie have questioned the validity of the will with no financial motive whatsoever - they stand to gain nothing financially by a finding that the will is invalid." The statement continued, "The individuals who have the most to lose by a finding that the will is invalid are, of course, the executors and those on the executors' payroll."
So how convenient that one of the witnesses to the will is also one of the acting co-executors of the estate and another was named as a co-executor but declined to serve. Certainly not good estate planning, particularly for someone constantly surrounded by controversy like Michael Jackson. Of course, even if the 2002 will is declared invalid, the prior will signed by Michael will come into play, and apparently the prior will also named Branca and McClain as co-executors.
- TJ Jackson emerges as Katherine's co-guardian
- Janet Jackson on Michael Jackson's will: we have no financial motives
- Jackson Family Feud: Janet, Randy & Rebbie Say Michael Jackson's Estate Executors Are To Blame
- Janet Jackson's Attorney Slams "Relentless" Negative Press, Insists Michael's Siblings Don't Want Money
- What Does Michael Jackson's Will Say?
- A Collection of Blogs About Michael Jackson's Estate and Family Trust
- Is Your Last Will and Testament Valid?
- How to Contest a Will