LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A judge has appointed Michael Jackson's nephew to share guardianship responsibilities for the singer's three children.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff during a hearing Wednesday named TJ Jackson as a co-guardian of the children who range in age from 10 to 15.
TJ Jackson will share responsibilities with Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine, who has cared for the children since the singer's death three years ago.
TJ Jackson is the son of Tito Jackson and performs with his brothers in the band 3T. According to court filings, he has remained close to his cousins, Prince, Paris and Blanket, since their father's death.
He was appointed a temporary guardian last month when Katherine Jackson was absent for several days and out of communication.
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A judge is expected to appoint Michael Jackson's nephew as a co-guardian of the late pop superstar's children on Wednesday, establishing continuity for them in case their grandmother becomes unable to raise them.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff has said he is inclined to appoint Tito Jackson's son, TJ, to share guardianship responsibilities with Michael Jackson's mother. The 34-year-old stepped in and was appointed a temporary guardian last month when Katherine Jackson was incommunicado during a stay at an Arizona spa with relatives.
Beckloff has said Katherine Jackson is doing a great job raising Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson, who range in ages from 10 to 15. The Jackson family matriarch's absence coincided with a split in the family over whether to support the executors of the late singer's estate, some of whom think should resign.
Katherine and TJ Jackson have agreed to the co-guardianship arrangement, which is aimed at alleviating stress on the children's 82-year grandmother. The agreement calls for the other to assume sole guardianship duties if the other is unable to serve any longer.
TJ Jackson was a relative unknown to the public before the recent rift in the family. He performs in a band called 3T along with his brothers and was close to his uncle, Michael, before the pop star died unexpectedly in June 2009 at age 50.
TJ Jackson is a cousin of the children and has remained close to them in the three years since the singer's death.
Wednesday's hearing is expected to be a legal formality, with TJ Jackson already earning the support of the two oldest children. Their mother, Deborah Rowe, has also indicated she is comfortable with the arrangement.
Three of Michael Jackson's siblings, sisters Janet and Rebbie and younger brother Randy, have all expressed concerns about the administrators of the singer's estate and called on them to resign. The window to contest the singer's will is closed, but the trio said as recently as last week that challenging the executors remains their priority.
Jackson's estate has generated more than $475 million in gross earnings since the singer's death. He left his estate to benefit his mother and children, with a share allocated to unspecified charities.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP