If you follow celebrity news, you may ask yourself the question of why is Lisa Marie Presley's mom fighting her daughter's estate plan? A recent filing in Los Angeles Superior Court questions the validity of a 2016 amendment to Lisa Marie Presley's living trust that ousted her mother Priscilla and a former business manager as trustees and replaced them with Lisa Marie Presley's two oldest children, Riley Keough and Benjamin Keough, if she died or became incapacitated. Benjamin died in 2020.
The National News’ recent article entitled “Priscilla Presley in dispute over late daughter Lisa Marie's estate” explains that a living trust is a form of estate planning that lets an individual control his or her assets while they are alive—but have them distributed without probate when they pass away. A living trust serves the function of a will if a separate one is not filed. This looks to be the case with Lisa Marie.
Lisa Marie, who was the only child of Elvis Presley, died at a California hospital at age 54 on January 12, after paramedics answered a 911 call reporting a woman in cardiac arrest. The LA County coroner is investigating and has not yet revealed a cause of death. She was laid to rest at her family home in Graceland on Jan 22.
The court filing from Lisa Marie’s mom says there are issues that question the living trust amendment’s authenticity. This includes a failure to notify Priscilla of the change as required, a misspelling of Priscilla's name in a document supposedly signed by her daughter, an atypical signature from Lisa Marie and a lack of a witness or notarization. The filing asks a judge to declare the amendment invalid. Another claim in the filing states that the business manager, Barry Siegel, intended to resign, which according to the prior terms of the trust would leave Priscilla and Riley Keough as co-trustees.
Lisa Marie left three surviving children. In addition to Riley Keough, her daughter with first husband Danny Keough, she had 14-year-old twin daughters with her fourth husband, Michael Lockwood. Lisa Marie divorced Lockwood in 2021, but the two were still disputing finances in family court when she passed away.
Priscilla's filing is one of the first of what are likely to be numerous legal claims concerning the estate of Lisa Marie, the only heir to Elvis Presley.
The estate’s worth is unclear. A lawsuit Lisa Marie filed in 2018, alleging Siegel had mismanaged the trust, said it had been worth more than $100 million, but most of that had been depleted.
It seems no one took the trouble to read the trust and the rules dictating just how a change of Trustee could take place! This is why it is vital to have an estate planning attorney that you can reach out to and rely on to make these changes in the appropriate manner. Living trusts are great planning tools and when changes need to be made, return to the drafting attorney or experienced estate planning counsel for proper guidance!
If you or a loved one are concerned about issues with situations like this having to do with estate planning and elder law concerns including Asset Protection/Medicaid Planning and questions regarding long-term care and the nursing home, reach out to us! Book a call with us on our website: www.VAElderLaw.com to get started. We have offices in Bassett, Danville and Lynchburg to serve you.
Reference: The National News (Jan. 30, 2023) “Priscilla Presley in dispute over late daughter Lisa Marie's estate”
Photo Credit: NBC News