Michael Jackson’s beloved 80-year-old mother,’Katherine, made what could be a costly legal mistake’yesterday in a Los Angeles court.

Katherine Jackson got temporary custody’of Michael’s three children (you’ll notice she filed alone and not with her husband of 60 years).

She also filed a claim on Michael’s estate, saying he died intestate, or without a will. But anyone who reads this column knew days ago that Michael had executed a will with attorney John Branca, and that it was waiting to be opened on Monday.

While Mrs. Jackson was in court, Branca was indeed studying the will. I am told it will be presented to the court and filed in the next day or so.

But wait: if Mrs. Jackson gets her way, legal eagles assure me, and the court decides Michael had no will, then Mrs. J gets nothing. Michael’s direct heirs’his three kids’would be the sole beneficiaries.

Whoops!

As it turns out, accepting Michael’s will with Branca is better for Mrs. Jackson. Insiders say that Michael took excellent care of her along with the children. Together they are the primary beneficiaries.

There is no information yet whether Michael left anything to anyone else. But the thinking is that Janet Jackson has her own money, LaToya already received money from Michael and that he’s probably left his brothers to fend for themselves. As for Joseph Jackson, who witnesses say used to lock Michael in a closet as a child when his Jackson 5 rehearsals didn’t go well, you can bet there’s no provision for him.

Indeed, even Mrs. Jackson’s inheritance will be parcelled out, they say, so she gets money “as needed.” Her husband’who brought a Michael Jackson imitator to the BET Awards on Sunday night’will not be’ able to share in it particularly.

Meantime, burial arrangements and funeral services remain undecided for Michael, who died four days ago. There are said to be two different factions within the Jackson family, plenty of disagreement, and lots of tension overall. It’s too bad. You’d think the family would come together and resolve this issue quickly with dignity for Michael’s sake. The easiest solution: a mausoleum at Forest Lawn, where other mega-celebrities have found their final rest. Michael would be very much at home with the likes of Lucille Ball, Lou Rawls, and Liberace.

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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