Media outlets have reported that Priscilla Presley is taking legal action to challenge the validity of her late daughter’s estate plan. The reports indicate that Presley has filed papers in a California state court disputing the validity of a 2016 amendment to her late daughter’s living trust. A living trust is an estate planning document that functions in a very similar way to a last will and testament. Lisa Marie Presley passed away at the age of 54 on Jan. 12.
The amendment being challenged removed Priscilla Presley as a trustee. She claims in her filing that she was not notified of the change as required by law. She also seems to suggest that her late daughter may not have even been aware of the changes made to her estate plan. The filing points out that Presley’s name was spelled incorrectly on the amendment, the changes were not witnessed or notarized, and it describes her late daughter’s signature as “atypical.”
The Presley fortune
The filing is likely to be the first stage of prolonged trust litigation, but the value of the estate involved is unclear. Lisa Marie Presley was Elvis Presley’s only heir, which explains why the case has attracted a lot of media attention. In a lawsuit filed against her former business manager in 2018, Lisa Marie Presley alleged that her late father’s estate, which was once valued at more than $100 million, had been all but depleted by mismanagement.
Avoidable legal battles
Legal disputes like this one are not uncommon when wealthy individuals pass away, and they often feature allegations of forgery, coercion or undue influence. This is why it is so important to take great care when drafting estate planning documents that are likely to be subjected to close scrutiny. When this uncovers even relatively simple errors like spelling mistakes, challenges become all but inevitable.