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Priscilla Presley is challenging her daughter Lisa Marie's will

Mourners celebrate Lisa Marie Presley's life
Lisa Marie Presley's life celebrated at Graceland memorial service 06:46

Priscilla Presley is challenging the validity of her late daughter Lisa Marie Presley's will.

In a legal filing in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, Priscilla Presley disputed the validity of a 2016 amendment to Lisa Marie Presley's living trust that removed her and a former business manager as trustees and replaced them with Lisa Marie Presley's two oldest children, Riley Keough and Benjamin Keough, if Lisa Marie died or became incapacitated. Benjamin Keough died in 2020.

Lisa Marie Presley, a singer and the only child of Elvis Presley, died at a California hospital at age 54 on Jan. 12 after paramedics answered a 911 call reporting a woman in cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County coroner is investigating, and has not yet given a cause of death. Presley was laid to rest at her family home, Graceland, on Jan. 22.

In Lisa Marie Presley's case, it appears she did not have a separate will filed, which means that her living trust serves the function of that document. A living trust is a form of estate planning that allows a person to control their assets while alive, but have them distributed if they die.

Priscilla Presley's court filing alleges there are several issues that bring the living trust amendment's authenticity into doubt.

The filing says they include a failure to notify Priscilla Presley of the change as required, a misspelling of Priscilla Presley's name in a document supposedly signed by her daughter, an atypical signature from Lisa Marie Presley, and a lack of a witness or notarization. 

Priscilla Presley "is contesting the amendment because it removes her as trustee in favor of her granddaughter," Caryn Young, a partner on the private client and tax team at international law firm Withers, told CBS MoneyWatch. "Obviously, she would want control over administration of the assets —especially if she thinks the assets were mishandled in the past."

While misspelling of Presley's name could be a simple error, the atypical signature could be evidence of fraud, Young noted.

Presley's filing asks a judge to declare the amendment invalid.

Troubled financial history

At the time of her death, Lisa Marie Presley owned Graceland, Elvis Presley's estate that is now a tourist attraction, through her trust. But she had a troubled financial history, which came to light in 2018 when she sued manager Barry Siegel, claiming he had mismanaged her wealth, resulting in her $100 million trust dwindling to $14,000 in cash by 2016. It is not clear how much the trust is now worth.

Priscilla Presley's filing says that Siegel intended to resign from the trust, which according to the prior terms of the trust would leave Priscilla Presley, 77, and Riley Keough, 33, as co-trustees.

A message seeking comment from representatives of Riley Keough was not immediately returned. 

"If the court finds in favor of Priscilla, presumably the amendment will be treated as invalid and the changes made under that amendment will be voided," Young noted. "So if the amendment changed the successor Trustees, taking out Priscilla and replacing her with her grandchildren, then that change would be voided and Priscilla would be the successor trustee."

Lisa Marie Presley 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.

Presley was declared divorced from Lockwood in 2021, but the two were still disputing finances in family court when she died.

Priscilla Presley's filing is among the first of what are likely to be many legal maneuvers surrounding the estate of Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley's only heir.

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