updated 6/29/2006 11:46:22 PM ET 2006-06-30T03:46:22

Relatives of Rosa Parks and the people she appointed to handle her affairs failed to reach an agreement Thursday in a dispute over her estate.

A trial is likely in the legal challenge to the civil rights icon’s will, said Frederick Toca Jr., a lawyer representing Parks’ 13 nieces and nephews.

Parks died in October at 92. The modest possessions that Parks left are not the real issue. Far more significant is control over the legal rights to her name, image and other intellectual property.

Lawyers for both sides were unable to reach an agreement Thursday with a mediator, who then decided to step down from that role, Toca said.

Both sides had agreed that retired 36th District Judge Adam Shakoor should mediate, an unusual decision since he was one of two people Parks had appointed to handle her affairs. The other was Elaine Steele, a longtime friend of Parks.

Shakoor also gave up co-representative of Parks’ estate, Toca said. Telephone messages seeking comment were left at Shakoor’s law office and at the Detroit office of Steele’s attorney, Gerald Fitzgerald Jr.

The nieces and nephews — all sons and daughters of Parks’ brother Sylvester — say the will should be voided because Steele exerted undue influence over Parks.

Steele’s lawyers have said the issue is whether Parks’ wish that her legacy be continued through her organization will be honored.

The main beneficiary of the will is the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, a Detroit-based group founded by Parks to teach young people leadership and character development. Steele is the institute’s vice president.

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