Nephew of Rosa Parks to challenge her will in court
November 16, 2005 (Detroit Free Press)
A nephew of civil rights icon Rosa Parks will contest her 2003 will on grounds that Parks lacked the mental capacity to sign it because of dementia, the nephew’s attorney said.
The will designates retired judge Adam Shakoor and Parks’ longtime friend and caregiver, Elaine Steele, as administrators of her estate.
But William McCauley of Detroit will object, his lawyer, Darren Findling, said Tuesday. McCauley, 47, also contends that Parks was unduly influenced by people around her, Findling told the Detroit Free Press.
Findling said he hopes the parties can quickly reach an agreement.
Parks, 92, a widow who had no children, died Oct. 24 at her Detroit riverfront condominium.
McCauley, one of 13 living children of Parks’ brother, Sylvester McCauley, filed a petition in Wayne County Probate Court last week seeking to be named the estate’s personal representative.
Shakoor and Steele are asking the court to recognize a will Parks signed in March 2003 giving them control of the estate. A Wayne County probate judge set a hearing for Jan. 3
Shakoor said he is only acting as Parks wanted.
“It’s the role Mrs. Parks placed me in, and the role that I’m honor-bound and duty-bound to fulfill,” Shakoor said Tuesday.
“I am not seeking conflict. I am just carrying out what Mrs. Parks expressed,” Shakoor said.
Last year, a federal judge named ex-Mayor Dennis Archer to represent Parks in a lawsuit against a rap group because of concerns about whether her interests were being adequately handled. Medical records show that Parks had dementia at least as far back as August 2002.