Celebrity Estate Plans (Part 3): Lisa Marie Presley: Trust Administration is “All Shook Up”

Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, died at age 54 on January 12, 2023.  Lisa Marie was survived by her mother, Priscilla Presley, as well as by her three children, Riley Keough (age 33), and twin 14-year old daughters, Harper and Finley.  Before she died, Lisa Marie had executed a living trust.  To date, no other estate planning documents, namely, a will, have been brought forward.

Following Lisa Marie’s death, Priscilla, through an attorney-in-fact, challenged a 2016 amendment to Lisa Marie’s living trust that removed Priscilla and a former business manager as trustees.  Riley and Lisa Marie’s son, Benjamin (who died in 2020) were named as replacement trustees.  No other amendments were made thereafter.

Priscilla alleges that the amendment violated the terms of the trust for a few reasons.  First, the trust required that all trustees be notified of any amendments made to the document, yet she was not notified of the 2016 amendment.  Priscilla also alleges that her own name is misspelled in the amendment and that Lisa Marie’s signature was not witnessed or notarized.  Priscilla generally questions the authenticity of the signature purported to be Lisa Marie’s.

What is at stake in the litigation is substantial.  Lisa Marie, as Elvis Presley’s only heir, has an estate that includes highly valuable memorabilia and, even more importantly, Graceland, the famed Presley homestead which now consists of a museum and entertainment complex.  In 2004, Lisa Marie sold 85% of her interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises’ assets, valued at approximately $100 million.  Thus, given the size and scope of Lisa Marie’s assets and absent any other guiding document, the administration of this trust will be consequential.