Rosa Parks Being Robbed While Dead!?

A lawyer for the late civil rights icon is claiming that the lawyers in charge of her property are stealing money from her estate.

Posted: 07/21/2011 06:13 PM EDT
Filed Under Crime

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks, a mother to the civil rights movement, may not be resting in peace if she knew of the drama surrounding her estate; a Detroit lawyer is claiming that two lawyers have nearly depleted its assets.

 

Currently her property is in a New York auction house, but Stephen Cohen, the lawyer representing Parks’ caretaker, Elaine Steele, and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, are saying that the lawyers appointed to oversee Parks’ estate are “corrupting” it by overcharging the estate for a large amount of “unnecessary administrative work.”

 

In a recently filed lawsuit with the Michigan Supreme Court, Cohen is claiming that lawyers John Chase Jr. and Melvin Jefferson Jr. were overpaid, receiving almost two-thirds the cash value of Parks’ estate, or $243,000 in legal fees.

 

“Since Mrs. Parks' death in 2005...the court system of her adopted city has embarked on a course to destroy her legacy, bankrupt her institute, shred her estate plan and steal her very name,” Cohen said in the filing.

 

In a television interview Chase said that everything he and his partner have done has been court approved.

 

The mayhem surrounding Parks’ estate after her death raises the question, where will your assets go after you die?

 

Parks, who was arrested in 1955 after refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus died in 2005.

 

Some of the memorabilia in her estate include the hat she wore on the bus ride, medals and papers.

 

In order to ensure that you know where your money is going, the legal website NOLO.com offers tips on making a will:

 

1. Decide what property to include in your will.

 

2. Decide who will inherit your property.

 

3. Choose a [trustworthy] executor to handle your estate.

 

4. Choose a guardian for your children.

 

5. Choose someone to manage children's property.

 

6. Sign your will in front of witnesses.

 

7. Store your will in a safe place.

 

For more detailed instructions on the tips offered above, visit here.

 

To share story ideas with Danielle Wright follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV

(Photo: CBS/Landov)

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