"The paradox is that Michael is one of the brightest and most talented people I've ever known," he added. "At the same time, he has made some of the worst choices in advisors in the history of music."
The other executor named in the will, McClain, worked with Michael Jackson, his sister Janet, and the Jackson 5 as well as with rappers Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. He is best known for his work at Interscope Records, where he was responsible for bringing the controversial yet lucrative gangsta rap label Death Row Records into its corporate fold.
An executor role would give Branca and McClain power to manage Jackson's finances while the court is settling his affairs, a process that could take years. Jackson, 50, died with more than $400 million in debt, but his assets -- including his musical catalog and his partial ownership of the Sony-ATV catalog -- outweigh his debts by hundreds of millions of dollars.
"That is going to be a very important responsibility considering the size of the debts and the projected size of the estate. . . . There is also going to be a responsibility during that time to monetize the assets. The judge is going to want to make sure a responsible person is admitted," said Lawrence Heller, a veteran L.A. probate attorney who has handled estate planning for Sammy Davis Jr. and other celebrities.
Times staff writers Chris Lee, Andrew Blankstein, Ari B. Bloomekatz, Ruben Vives and Raja Abdulrahim contributed to this report.