Because Jackson included a no-contest provision in his will, Katherine Jackson risks losing the 40 percent in assets bequeathed to her by her son if she contests the will. Her lawyers were quick to point out in court today that Katherine Jackson isn't contesting her son's will, just trying to preserve her role as administrator.
Beckloff acknowledged the parties' early dissension by noting that "this is getting off to a rocky start out of the gate."
A separate hearing will be held July 13 on the custody of Jackson's three children, who are currently living with Katherine Jackson.
Beckloff today said that he might appoint a lawyer to represent the children.
As the battle for Jackson's assets begins, workers are hurriedly putting the finishing touches on Tuesday's lavish Michael Jackson memorial service.
ABC News will broadcast the Jackson memorial service live at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, July 7
Jackson, 50, died June 25, leaving behind three young children and a complicated trove of debt, licensing rights, memorabilia and his 2,800-acre Neverland ranch.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been at the family's side since Jackson's death, criticized the timing of Katherine Jackson's date in probate court.
"I think it has been very insensitive, particularly to this family, that you would even schedule a court hearing on the status of the mother the day before she has to go to the cemetery for her son," Sharpton told "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts. "I mean it's almost insulting."
One week from today, Katherine Jackson's attorneys will head to court for a separate, more personal battle for custody of Jackson's three children.
Katherine Jackson has been granted temporary custody of Michael Joseph Jr., 12; Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, 11; and Prince Michael Jackson II, 7, who is known as Blanket. But Rowe, who was divorced from Jackson in 1999, is expected to lay claim to at least the two oldest children.
Schaffel, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in Jackson's 2005 molestation trial and later awarded a multimillion dollar judgment against the singer for back payments and loans, declined to comment on Rowe's plans for seeking custody of Jackson's children, but adamantly denied growing public sentiment that her taking a multimillion dollar settlement and signing away her custody rights makes her an unfit parent.
"Debbie did not sell the rights to her children. What I don't think most people realize ... Debbie Rowe has been a very close friend of Michael's for over 25 years," Schaffel said. "She wanted him to have children. They made a deal. Michael would raise the children. Obviously that's changed."
Schaffel said that Rowe has seen the children over the years, but he would not say when or how often.
But for now, the Jackson clan is focusing on saying goodbye.
Like others connected to Jackson's public memorial, Sharpton continued to keep mum on what the service might include or who is scheduled to perform.
"They are talking about a very dignified celebration of his life," Sharpton said. "And there will be tributes."
Sharpton, who reiterated the family's need to know exactly how its most famous member died, said the family is aware of the cost of the Jackson memorial to the cash-strapped city -- the memorial is said to cost taxpayers $2.5 million.