Elvis Presley’s Ex-Wife Battling for Control of His Estate
Priscilla Presley, Elvis' ex-wife and mother of Lisa Marie, is embroiled in a lagl battle over control of the King's estate.
When Elvis died in 1977, his estate was placed into a trust, with Lisa Marie eventually becoming its sole beneficiary. Though she suffered through many financial problems over the years, including a public battle with the family’s business manager, Barry Siegel, the Elvis brand continued to make money. Lisa Marie sold off 85 percent of the estate in 2005 to help pay her mounting debts, which Siegel claimed were the result of her “continuous, excessive spending.” The remaining 15 percent is still in the family, and remains quite valuable. Elvis Presley Enterprises reportedly pulled in $110 million in 2022.
Lisa Marie’s death early this year set into motion a battle over who is next in line as the King’s beneficiary. A change to the trust in 2016 – authorized by Lisa Marie – removed Priscilla and Siegel as trustees, and designated Riley and Benjamin Keough, Lisa Marie’s children with ex-husband Danny Keough, as co-trustees. Benjamin died by suicide in 2020, leaving Riley – a successful actress currently starring in Daisy Jones & The Six – as Elvis’ lone heir.
On Jan. 26, two weeks after Lisa Marie’s death, Priscilla filed papers in Los Angeles Superior Court challenging the 2016 amendment to the trust, insisting that she should be reinstated as trustee.
According to Forbes, Priscilla’s legal claims allege several issues with the amendment. “Among them, the amendment was never delivered to Priscilla as required by the original trust terms. Additionally, there are issues with the document including that the date was added via .pdf and the trust misspells Priscilla's name. No provisions of the amendment appear on the signature page, and Lisa Marie Presley's signature does not match her usual signature. Finally, the 2016 amendment was not witnessed or notarized, and according to court documents, the original has not been located.”
Because of these problems, Pricilla’s lawyers believe the amendment is "an invalid modification."
Keough has not commented on the situation. In a statement to NBC News, Priscilla insisted her actions were motivated by a desire to honor her ex-husband's legacy. “I loved Elvis very much as he loved me. Lisa is a result of our love. For anyone to think anything differently would be a travesty of the family legacy and would be disrespectful of what Elvis left behind in his life.”
“Please allow us the time we need to work together and sort this out,” she continued, asking for the public to withhold judgment regarding the legal battle. “Please ignore ‘the noise.’ As I have always been there for Elvis’ legacy, our family and the fans, I will continue to forge a pathway forward with respect, honesty, dignity, integrity and love.”
The war over Elvis' estate wages on as the King is once again at the center of pop-culture. The Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic Elvis, is up for eight Academy Awards, with Austin Butler, who stars as the iconic rocker, a favorite in the Best Actor category.