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Rosa Parks' estate battle takes another turn

The late Rosa Parks died in 2005. Shortly before her death, she set up a trust that left her belongings and intellectual property to her friend and caregiver as well as the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Her nieces and nephews contested the estate plan, probably because it was set up so late in her life.

This prompted a chain of legal actions that allegedly drained her estate of most if not all of its value. An attorney is now suing the judge and lawyers that represented the estate in an unusual move. This highlights the need for proper estate planning early in life. The earlier a person can plan their estate matters, the less likely it is to be contested if they pass away.

Many different legal documents can be made to direct parts of a person's estate to certain individuals with certain guidelines to make sure money goes where it is supposed to without a hassle. While late is better than never, estate planning documents might cause less debate by relatives of the deceased if they are made while the person is still alive and fully capable of understanding their estate matters.

Not only is it important that people plan their estates early, but it is also important that when they need legal help they seek out an experienced estate planning attorney. They can make sure that no details are overlooked and that all proper procedures are followed in the legal process. This can ensure a person's belongings are given as planned after their death.

Source: USA Today, "Lawyer sues judge, two other in Rosa Parks estate case," David Ashenfelder, May 17, 2012

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