Rosa Parks’ Estate Scheduled For a Jury Trial

Though leaving behind only a meager estate the stakes are high in this New York estate litigation case:

Philip Bernstein reported
in his New York Probate Litigation Blog that Ms. Parks died in October 2005 leaving 13 nieces and nephews (her only family) and the future enjoyment of tens of millions of dollars up in the air.

When Ms. Parks passed away she left nearly all of her assets under a 1998 will to the nonprofit Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, which she founded in 1987 with her longtime friend and caregiver, Elaine Steele. As an officer in the Institute, Steele was granted power of attorney over Parks in 1998, the same year Parks’ will was signed. The will-contest goes to trial on February 19, 2007, before a six-member jury in Wayne County Probate Court with Parks’ nieces and nephews seeking to set aside the will. They argue that Steele unduly influenced Parks, who had dementia, into signing a will that cut them out of any decision-making about how Parks’ likeness would be used and any profit from the licensing of her name and image.

(see also The Florida Probate Litigation Blog for similar coverage)

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