PHOTO: Michael and his mother Katherine

PHOTO: Michael and his mother Katherine (Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES -- A judge has appointed a probate attorney to serve as a special guardian for Michael Jackson's children in the settling of their father's estate.

Attorney Margaret G. Lodise is to advocate for the best interests of the performer's two sons and daughters in potential disputes between the estate's administrators and Jackson's mother, the other major beneficiary of his lucrative music empire.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff raised his concern after being told by attorneys for the special administrators of Jackson's estate that Katherine Jackson and Michael's three children have a "significant interest" in the trust set up in Michael's will.

The special guardian's role would be different from that of their guardian and grandmother, Katherine Jackson.

Attorneys for the estate argued that time is running short to make the business deals happen.

Attorneys for AEG Live and Bravado say the deals they want approved involve merchandising and an exhibition of Michael Jackson memorabilia.

They said getting the deals approved quickly is important to avoid cancellation of customer orders, reduce the chance of counterfeiting and capitalize on consumer interest.

Katherine acted as temporary special administrator of her son's estate until John Branca and John McClain were appointed. Both men were named in Jackson's will as executors of the estate.

Katherine Jackson has said she wants more say in guiding estate matters. Attorneys for Branca and McClain have said in response that they will keep her lawyers informed about their activities on behalf of the estate, including potential business opportunities.

They also have said they will ask the judge to allow estate funds to be used to grant a special monthly allowance to Katherine for her expenses in caring for her grandchildren.

Last week, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff granted Katherine permanent guardianship of Jackson's three children, as was decided in an agreement with Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe.

Beckloff also granted 79-year-old Katherine Jackson a monthly allowance from her son's estate, however, the amount of the stipend was not disclosed.

The judge approved nearly 84 percent of the amount her lawyers requested, citing duplicate expenses.

The allowance were approved retroactively to June 25, when the King of Pop died.

Shortly after the hearing, a rare home video was released showing Michael Jackson playing with his children, Prince and Paris, on their birthdays.

The kids can be heard on the video telling Michael how much they love him.

Katherine had remained temporary guardian during the negotiation process, and the children have been living at the Jackson family's compound in Encino.

In a will signed in 2002, Michael Jackson indicated he wanted his mother to care for his children if he died. He listed Diana Ross as a backup guardian.

Rowe, the mother of Jackson's two oldest children, wasn't given any role in the will.