Priscilla Presley has challenged her late daughter Lisa Marie’s trust in court just weeks after her sudden death, a move which pits her against her own granddaughter.
Lisa Marie, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, died of a heart attack aged 54 on January 12, just two days after her appearance at the Golden Globes in Los Angeles.
While details surrounding Lisa Marie’s exact financial situation are complicated, she was the sole heir of Elvis Presley’s fortune after he died in 1977, which, thanks to Graceland mansion becoming a tourist attraction, is now said to be worth upwards of $US100 million.
Following Lisa Marie’s death, that estate will now go to her daughters Riley Keough, 33, and twins Harper and Finley Lockwood, 14, which was confirmed by a Graceland spokesperson to Los Angeles Times.
Lisa Marie’s only son Benjamin Keogh was named as co-trustee alongside Riley, but he died in 2020 aged 29, making Riley the sole trustee.
But in a new development, Priscilla, 77, has contested the trust in court, saying she was initially named trustee alongside Lisa Marie’s estranged business manager, Barry Siegel, when the trust was finalised in 2010. Lisa Marie executed a revocable living trust in 1993, which she then amended and completely restated in 2010.
However, it appears the trust was secretly amended again in 2016 without Priscilla’s knowledge, and she was removed as co-trustee. Priscilla further added she was required to be notified if the trust was amended while Lisa Marie was alive, per terms.
In the new legal documents, Priscilla questions the validity of the amendment for a number of reasons. She believes the date on the document to be suspicious, points out that it misspells her name, and that Lisa Marie’s signature “appears inconsistent with her usual and customary signature”.
“[In 2010] Lisa Marie Presley appointed her mother, Petitioner, and her former business manager, Barry Siegel, as co-Trustees effective as of the date of the 2010 restatement,” the court filing states.
“The 2010 restatement further provides that Petitioner and Barry Siegel shall continue to serve as co-Trustees upon Lisa Marie Presley’s subsequent incapacity and/or death.”
The documents continue: “The Purported 2016 Amendment removed and replaced Petitioner [Priscilla] and Barry as both current and successor Trustees of the Trust with Lisa Marie Presley as the current Trustee and naming Lisa Marie Presley’s daughter, Riley Keough, and son, Benjamin Keough, as successor co-Trustees of the Trust upon Lisa Marie Presley’s incapacity and/or 10 death,” the court documents stated.
Priscilla has asked a judge to deem the 2016 amendment “invalid”, saying it is potentially “fraud”.
Lisa Marie was granted sole access to Elvis’ fortune when she turned 25 in 1993.
But instead of taking control of it, Lisa Marie appointed others to act as trustees over her inheritance, appointing Siegel as a co-trustee in 2003 to be the person primarily in charge of managing the trust assets as well as her income.
According to Forbes, in 2005, Siegel decided to sell 85 per cent of Lisa Marie’s share in the Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) trust, but instead of netting the full $US100 million, the deal brought in only $US40 million after taxes.
Between 2005 and 2015, nearly all of this money had been whittled away, and Lisa Marie was left deeply in debt.
In 2018, Lisa Marie sued Siegel and his financial company, Provident Financial Management, accusing Siegel of hiding the Trust’s true financial condition over the years.
During the case, Lisa Marie pointed out that by the time Siegel stopped working with her in 2015, the trust was left with only $US14,000 cash and she owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes and other debt.
The late king of rock’n’roll, who was known as a generous and free spender while he was alive, left behind a cash-poor estate on his death, worth about $US5 million, according to Forbes, and with a mountain of debt.
Over the years, however, that figure has climbed thanks to Priscilla’s decision to offer up Graceland as a tourist attraction, with the Memphis estate reportedly netting around $US10 million annually.
Originally published at www.news.com.au