Family Members Officially Object to Rosa Parks' Will

DETROIT -- Lawyers for twelve nieces and nephews of civil rights icon Rosa Parks have filed an official objection to her will.

The family members, who have been feuding for years with the people Parks appointed to handle her affairs, filed the legal challenge Friday. A pretrial conference is set for May 9th before a probate judge in Wayne County, Michigan.

Parks' family members have said they started legal proceedings in December to protect her legacy in a fight for control of the legal rights to use the Alabama native's name, photos and other yet to be determined intellectual property that rises from her stature as an American civil rights icon.

In the legal complaint, lawyers alleged that Parks' longtime friend Elaine Steele, who handled her affairs, exerted undue influence over Parks.

They said Parks was subjected to threats, misrepresentations and coercion to overpower her free will. They also said Parks was suffering from a mental condition that caused her to not understand her estate and assets at the time the will was dated in 1998.

But an estate planning lawyer said Parks was in full control of her mental faculties when the will was signed in 1998.

Parks died in October at age 92 in Detroit, where she had lived since 1957.

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