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Michael Jackson's estate will pay funeral costs

Though one attorney described the expenses for Thursday's funeral as 'extraordinary,' a probate judge approved the move after being assured that the estate could afford the bill.

September 03, 2009|Victoria Kim

Michael Jackson's estate will pay the undisclosed expenses for the singer's funeral today -- a sum one attorney called "extraordinary."

Probate Judge Mitchell Beckloff approved the payment at a hearing Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles after an attorney for the estate's administrators assured him that the estate had the financial resources to pay for the funeral and that it would not affect its solvency.

"The expenses are extraordinary; however, Michael Jackson is extraordinary," said attorney Jeryll S. Cohen, who told the judge that the administrators did not object to the expenses. "They may not be appropriate for an ordinary person, but Michael Jackson was not ordinary."

Attorneys for the singer's mother filed papers under seal late Tuesday asking that the estate foot the bill for the funeral she has planned. Burt Levitch, Katherine Jackson's attorney, said outside of court that he did not find the expenses extraordinary.

The bulk of the cost was going to the fee for Jackson to be interred in the historic Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Glendale, Levitch said. There, Jackson will be laid to rest amid lavish decorations, including statues and stained glass windows, and in the company of stars such as Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable.

Margaret G. Lodise, an attorney representing Jackson's children, said she had no concerns that the funeral costs would overburden the estate. The sum is "not going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back," Lodise said.

Glendale city officials have said the public costs associated with the burial, including traffic control and other police services, would be passed on to the family.

Police spokesman Tom Lorenz said the cost of police services for Jackson's funeral would be $150,000 at most. Under a contract with Forest Lawn, police will provide "elaborate" security, including dogs and air support, he said.

He declined to specify how many officers would be deployed for the funeral, but said it would not affect the department's ongoing fire efforts, which he said were now down to minimal levels with just a handful of officers dealing with street closures.

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victoria.kim@latimes.com

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