The dispute over the late Lisa Marie Presley’s estate has been settled. The family conflict arose after a 2016 amendment to Lisa Marie Presley's living trust was discovered that purportedly removed her mom, Priscilla Presley and Barry Siegel, a former business manager, as trustees and replaced them with Lisa Marie's two oldest children, Riley Keough and Benjamin Keough.
Priscilla’s court filing had raised issues concerning the amendment’s validity, including a misspelling of her name, a suspicious looking signature and failure to put the current trustees on notice of the change, as well as no witnesses or notarization of the document. In a statement to USA Today, Priscilla said the family was pleased to reach a resolution and reiterated that her original filing wasn’t a lawsuit against her granddaughter Riley (Benjamin passed away in 2020).
According to lawyers involved with the matter, a second trust, which is the beneficiary of a large life insurance policy, was also part of the settlement. The terms of the settlement haven’t been made public and are pending court approval. The only tidbit of insider information, according to the Los Angeles Times, is that based on Priscilla’s filing, she believed Siegel would resign as co-trustee, setting up Riley as co-trustee alongside her. (TMZ has also reported that Priscilla’s request to be buried next to Elvis was denied and that Lisa Marie’s estate allegedly paid her millions to settle.) The resolution of the matter should end any uncertainty over who will control Lisa Marie’s will, as well as the legacy of the Graceland Mansion and many of Elvis’ personal possessions.
Incentive to Settle?
The settlement in this case was reached reasonably quickly and before court involvement. According to Benazeer “Benny” Roshan, Chair of Greenberg Glusker's Trust and Probate Litigation Group in Los Angeles, “Squashing a family squabble early on should be the goal for any family.” When a family is famous and in the public eye, such as the Presleys, resolving family conflict without airing too much dirty laundry becomes even more prudent. “The manner in which the settlement was reached and announced (and terms kept confidential) was both elegant and expert. To quote Elvis: ‘I can't help falling in love’ with how this matter was brought to a conclusion,” Roshan added.
Although maintaining privacy from the prying public eye was likely a big reason, another potential reason for the speedy settlement “may have been evidentiary issues for Priscilla Presley and a potential need for Riley Keough to stand her ground,” explained Roshan. She went on the emphasize that the parties involved should be commended for reaching a settlement and says the settlement is “an example of what happens when a family uses love as a foundation for resolving a dispute.”