The Estate of Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley, famously known as "The King of Rock 'n' Roll," is one of the most iconic figures in music and pop culture from the 20th century. At the time of his death, Elvis had acquired an impressive estate of $5 million. In this blog post, we take a closer look at the history of the estate, the controversies it inspired, and who owns it today.
Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935. From an early age, he had a natural love and talent for music. After releasing a variety of hit songs and touring the nation, he quickly became a rock n’ roll sensation. To protect his newfound fame and fortune, Elvis drafted a will and a trust. These documents appointed his father, Vernon Presley, as executor of his will and trustee. The initial beneficiaries of Elvis’ trust were Vernon, Elvis’ grandmother, Minnie Mae, and his daughter, Lisa Marie. His estate also included the rights to Graceland, the infamous homestead mansion he purchased in 1957.
Elvis’ stardom tragically came to an end as he passed away in Graceland in 1977. His legacy and estate, however, were not forgotten.
Elvis’ father and grandmother also sadly passed away in 1979 and 1980 respectfully. This left Lisa Marie Presley as the sole remaining heir of Elvis’ estate. Her portion, however, was held in a sub-trust until she reached age 25 upon which Elvis’ original trust automatically dissolved.
Lisa Marie chose to form a new trust, appropriately named the Elvis Presley Trust, to manage and protect his estate. Pricilla Presley, Elvis’ ex-wife, and the National Bank of Commerce would serve as co-trustees with Lisa Marie after her death.
Unfortunately, managing such a large and famous estate comes with its share of controversies. The disputes began after Lisa Marie amended her will to remove her business manager, Barry Siegel, and Pricilla Presley as successor trustees. She instead named her children, Riley and Brandon Keough. Brandon tragically passed away in 2020 leaving Riley to be the sole trustee of Lisa Marie’s estate after her death.
In January of 2023, the unexpected death of Lisa Marie shined a spotlight on the estate once more. A few days after Lisa Marie’s death, Pricilla filed documents challenging the authenticity of Lisa Marie’s will, specifically the amendment from 2011. After a legal battle ensuing for many months, the court determined the amendment and will of Lisa Marie were valid in August of 2023. Riley Keough is now officially the sole heir of the Elvis estate and Graceland.
Today, millions of visitors from around the world visit Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee to experience the legend of the King of Rock n’ Roll. Since it has been open to the public, the value of Graceland and the Elvis estate has skyrocketed. Graceland alone is believed to generate close to $15 million annually. Despite the negative publicity and legal disputes surrounding the estate, both Riley and Pricillia insist they are on good terms with each other. The estate of Elvis Presley shows the importance of drafting proper estate planning documents regardless of your fame and fortune. To begin drafting your documents today, or update an existing plan, contact the offices of Malm & LaFave, S.C. at 414-228-5250. Our attorneys are ready to answer any questions you have.