Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, February 24, 2014

Judge's Handling of Rosa Parks Estate Upheld


The Michigan Court of Appeals recently upheld a probate judge’s handling of the estate of Rosa Parks.

Since Parks died in 2005, her estate has been embroiled in controversy.  The estate’s primary beneficiaries, Elaine Steele and the institute Steele founded with Parks, accused Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. of conspiring with Detroit probate lawyers to gouge the estate with excessive legal fees.  The appellate court found there to be nothing in the record supporting a conflict of interest or inappropriate conduct.  The court also said appeals of Burton’s rulings were vexatious and should result in sanctions.

The estate battle began when 13 nieces and nephews challenged the validity of the estate plan and accused Steele of taking advantage of an aging Parks.  They eventually settled.

See Paul Egan, Appeals Court Upholds Judge’s Handling of Rosa Parks Estate, Detroit Free Press, Feb. 21, 2014.


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