Elizabeth Taylor

Even before LIZ TAYLOR's funeral, a family war broke out over her $600 million estate – with her kids fearing the man she wanted to marry would have control over her enormous fortune.

Liz's friends believed her manager Jason Winters had almost a Svengali-like hold over her and could be able as administrator to parcel out the money the way he sees fit – including a hefty chunk for himself, say sources.

The movie queen's four children – Michael and Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd and Maria Burton – expected Winters would haul in a bundle when the will was read, according to reports.

In her final years, the late screen legend grew increasingly close to the 51-year-old Honolulu management executive – who was 28 years her junior – and pals say if not for Liz's persistent illnesses, Jason would have led her down the aisle for marriage No. 9.

"Jason was there for Elizabeth," an insider told The ENQUIRER. "She was mesmerized by him.

"Now there's more than $600 million at stake. Liz earmarked a lot for charity, and her kids definitely will be taken care of. But friends see Jason as an interloper who breezed into Liz's life in her final years and now will be making decisions on who gets what.

"Plus he'll get a chunk for himself and a fee for his role as administrator!"

Alarge slice of the Taylor estate has already been designated for AIDS charities, and it is believed the children will get $100 million each.

"Her children must feel insulted Liz didn't choose any of them to take care of her business affairs. But, in truth, Jason was a lifesaver for Liz during her darkest days."

After her 1996 divorce from her last husband, Larry Fortensky, the actress fell into depression and barely left her home. She suffered near fatal viral pneumonia, a broken back, diabetes – and had surgery in 1997 to remove a benign brain tumor.

But in the last five years, Winters got her back into the social and fundraising swirl that she loved. Sources say she regretted they had met so late in her life.

As The ENQUIRER reported in early March, a dying Liz feared there would be a "full-fledged war" over her estate. Now it appears her concerns could come true – and Winters could be a major winner in the battle.

"He was great company, and made her feel like the star she was," said the insider. "She didn't think a price could be put on such a dear friend."