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The Rosa Parks Estate Mess — an exercise in needless litigation

Posted by Sasha Golden | May 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

When Rosa Parks died in 2005, she left no children, but she did have a will, a revocable trust, and a priceless collection of memorabilia. First, a lawsuit was brought in 2007 challenging the will on the grounds of lack of capacity when Mrs. Parks signed it and her revocable trust in 2000. Now there's more litigation over the disposition of the collection and the conduct of the trustees who were appointed to take over from the trustees Mrs. Parks had appointed. Depending on which side's attorneys you believe, there's either been $595,000 or $150,000 spent on legal fees relating to how to sell off the assets and dispose of the profits — so far.

I have to believe that a lot of this mess would have been avoided with more appropriate estate planning that could have occurred at a younger age. Title to this collection and the intellectual property — her image and words  – could have been transferred at that time to her institute, which is now facing a significant loss of value as a result of the litigation. No one is going to look good coming out of this case.

About the Author

Sasha Golden

Alexandra “Sasha” Golden received her undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College, and has been practicing law in Massachusetts since 1994. Attorney Golden is a long-standing member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and of the Probate and So...


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