Jackson memorial plans underway
LOS ANGELES - A public memorial for Michael Jackson is in the works but won’t be held at the pop star’s Neverland Ranch, a Jackson family spokesman said yesterday.
No further details were provided in the statement issued by family spokesman Ken Sunshine. An announcement on the plans was expected soon.
One site under consideration for a public memorial is Los Angeles Coliseum, where the Los Angeles Lakers held their championship celebration last month. A City Hall official not authorized to speak publicly said representatives of the Jackson family have inquired about using the site.
Meanwhile, Michael Jackson’s 7-year-old will was filed in a Los Angeles court, giving his entire estate to a family trust while making his mother the guardian of his children and cutting out his former wife Debbie Rowe.
Court documents estimated the current value of his estate at more than $500 million.
It names his mother, Katherine, 79, as a beneficiary of the trust and the guardian of Jackson’s children, who are also named as beneficiaries of the trust. It also names entertainer Diana Ross as a successor guardian for the children and their estates if something happens to Katherine Jackson.
Ross introduced the Jackson 5 on “The Ed Sullivan Show’’ in the late 1960s and was instrumental in launching their careers. She was a lifelong friend of Michael Jackson.
Jackson’s longtime lawyer, John Branca, and John McClain, a music executive and a family friend, are named in the will as coexecutors.
In a statement, Branca and McClain said: “The most important element of Michael’s will is his unwavering desire that his mother, Katherine, become the legal guardian for his three children. As we work to carry out Michael’s instructions to safeguard both the future of his children as well as the remarkable legacy he left us as an artist we ask that all matters involving his estate be handled with the dignity and the respect that Michael and his family deserve.’’
The executors moved quickly to take control of all of Michael Jackson’s property, going to court yesterday to challenge a previous ruling by a judge that gave Katherine Jackson control of 2,000 items from Neverland.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff said Katherine Jackson will retain authority over the items until another hearing set for Monday. Beckloff urged lawyers from both sides to try to reach a compromise soon.
“I would like the family to sit down, try to make this work that we don’t have a difficult time in court,’’ the judge said.
An effort to bury Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch fizzled, and it appears more likely that a funeral and burial will take place in Los Angeles, a person familiar with the situation said. The family has the final say.
Authorities in Santa Barbara County had been preparing for tens of thousands of fans to descend on the ranch after media reports said a public viewing would take place later this week.
A private memorial service for family and friends could take place at the ranch, probably after the funeral.
“The family is aware a Neverland burial is not possible. They are expected to make decisions about whatever funeral and memorial service’’ will take place, the person said.
The documents said Jackson’s estate consisted almost entirely of “non-cash, non-liquid assets, including primarily an interest in a catalog of music royalty rights which is currently being administered by
One of Jackson’s most lucrative assets is his stake in the massive Sony-ATV Music Publishing Catalog, which includes music by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga, and the Jonas Brothers, and is estimated to be worth as much as $2 billion. The five-page will is signed by Jackson, and each paragraph includes Jackson’s initials.
Jackson, who died June 25 at age 50, left behind three children: son Michael Joseph Jr., known as Prince Michael, 12; daughter Paris Michael Katherine, 11; and son Prince Michael II, 7. Rowe was the mother of the two oldest children; the youngest was born to a surrogate mother.