Estate Planning Lessons from Hollywood: New Developments in the Lisa Marie Presley Case

A widely publicized estate planning case that is ongoing is the disputed estate of Lisa Marie Presley. As reported in the New York Times, Lisa Marie Presley (daughter of Elvis Presley), who was only 54 years old, died suddenly. Within a week Priscilla Presley (Lisa’s mother), went to court to challenge the validity of documents that result in Riley Keough (Lisa’s daughter) is the trustee.  In this article, we provide an update on the news of this case and additional best practice takeaways. Full story here

In a previous article, we summarized some basic estate planning principles that can be learned from this high profile case. Namely, 1) detail matter in estate planning, so ensure that documents are accurate, 2) if proper notice is required by the terms of a trust or will, then effectuating that notice is critical, and 3) keeping estate planning documents up to date is important because circumstances can change over time, with deaths, marriages, children born, changes in assets, etc.  

RadarOnline publicized that Riley Keough had changed the locks to the private portion of Graceland that was reserved for family use. The LA Times debunked this rumor by reporting that Graceland reps denied the rumors and issued a statement that read: “No locks at Graceland have been changed since Lisa Marie’s passing.

A recent development in this case is the Lisa Marie’s ex-husband, Michael Lockwood, is seeking to represent their 14 year old twin daughters in an upcoming hearing for the trust. He asked a judge to appoint him guardian ad litem, giving him authority to speak on behalf of the daughters.

Takeaway Lesson for Estate Planning from this Case

One lesson to be learned from this case is that there are potential estate planning strategy decisions that can be made when setting up a trust. For example, a person may consider whether a family member is the best trustee or whether a neutral non-family member might be a better choice. This case also involves a trust that was changed, and it’s the validity of those changes that are being challenged. Another strategy decision that could be considered for a party that is making a change to a trust would be to revoke the original document and rewrite it with the incorporated changes. 

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Firm

Another lesson that can certainly be learned from the Lisa Marie Presley dispute is that even for the wealthy, estate planning can have unforeseen pitfalls and challenges. For this reason, finding an experienced law firm to assist you is essential in making sure that your wishes are effectuated after you are gone. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we want to help you create a current and accurate estate plan that will help you achieve your goals. Contact us at 707-451-4502.