(CNN) — As Lisa Marie Presley’s three daughters inherit her estate and her grandmother challenges the validity of her late daughter’s will, some close to the family say the legal dispute, now in a California court, reflects a family history of conflicts over ownership. money among the Presley family.
Four days after Lisa Marie Presley’s memorial service at Graceland, Priscilla Presley filed a petition challenging an amendment to her daughter’s will made in 2016. The change removed Priscilla Presley and former business manager Barry Siegel as co-trustees. and replaced them with his sons, Riley and Benjamin Keough. Benjamin Keough later died in 2020.
Priscilla Presley’s petition claims that she did not receive notice of the amendment while her daughter was alive, as her trust required. The petition also notes that Priscilla’s name is misspelled on the document, asserts that the amendment was not witnessed or notarized, and questions the authenticity of Lisa Marie’s signature.
Keough has not yet responded to the request. CNN has contacted their representatives for comment.
Two people who were longtime friends of Lisa Marie Presley spoke to CNN about the property dispute. CNN is not naming the friends because they were not authorized to speak publicly on behalf of the family.
A friend called Priscilla Presley’s petition a “money grab.”
“It’s about Graceland and the memories Elvis left for Lisa Marie,” the source said. “Lisa was the sole heir to her estate. She and her mother have been separated for the last few years. Lisa didn’t want her mother to oversee the property. I think Priscilla is looking for money and what’s inside Graceland.”
Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley’s relationship has been strained over the years, the friends said, by their respective marriages and divorces, financial mismanagement and the personal trauma that has unfolded in the public eye as the ex-wife and the only daughter of the “King of Rock and Roll”, respectively.
CNN made multiple attempts to reach Priscilla Presley’s attorney for comment on this story. We have not received answer.
In an Instagram post Wednesday to mark what would have been Lisa Marie’s 55th birthday, Priscilla Presley described her efforts to love and protect her daughter.
“My wish is to protect my three grandchildren and keep our family together,” she wrote. “From the first moment I held Lisa in my arms, I protected, loved and guided her, as I have with my son. Our hearts are broken and I have to learn to live without my only daughter.”
Priscilla and Elvis Presley divorced in 1973. Lisa Marie Presley was the sole heir to Graceland and her father’s estate when his father died in 1977. Priscilla Presley transformed the property into a lucrative tourist attraction and museum, held in trust for Lisa Marie Presley until she was 25 years old.
In 2004, Lisa Marie sold 85% of the assets of Elvis Presley Enterprises in a deal worth more than $100 million. She retained 15% ownership of Elvis Presley Enterprises, which manages Graceland’s operations, its related properties, and Graceland’s archives. Lisa Marie also maintained full ownership of the Graceland mansion and her late father’s personal items housed in her museum, including costumes and cars on display, according to Graceland’s website.
A trust holding the Graceland property and its contents will now go to his daughter, Riley Keough, an accomplished actress and model, along with her 14-year-old twin sisters, a representative for Graceland confirmed to CNN.
Keough has made several films and starred in the first season of the Starz anthology series, “The Girlfriend Experience.”
“Riley is a sophisticated 33-year-old woman who is more than capable of running the property smoothly,” Lisa’s second close friend Marie Presley told CNN.
In 2020, a Presley executive told Rolling Stone that the estate was worth between $400 million and $500 million. Lisa Marie Presley earned seven figures annually from her interest in her estate, according to a court filing in her 2022 divorce.
So now in Priscilla Presley’s petition contesting Lisa Marie’s will, she has started a legal fight against her granddaughter.
“This is about getting control of what’s left of Elvis’s estate,” a close friend said of Priscilla Presley’s petition. “It’s sad.”
Elvis Presley’s legacy
Brigitte Kruse, a souvenir auctioneer, is listed as Priscilla’s attorney in her petition.
Benny Roshan, chair of Greenberg Glusker’s Probate and Trust Litigation Group with a background in estate law, told CNN that an attorney-in-fact could be appointed in situations where a person “can’t, doesn’t want to [o] is not available” to act.
“This raises the question of which of those three scenarios requires Priscilla to file a lawsuit through her attorney,” Roshan said.
Kruse and her husband founded Kruse GWS Auctions Inc. in 2009, according to the company’s website. They have collaborated with Priscilla Presley on Elvis memorabilia auctions in the past, though it’s unclear what the terms of their financial partnership may be.
“My relationship with Ms. Presley was established years ago,” Kruse said in a statement to CNN. “My entire adult career has been dedicated to validating and protecting the legacy of Elvis Presley. It has been an honor to be one of the many conservators in the Presley family.”
In August, CNN reported that Kruse organized an auction for “lost” jewelry belonging to Elvis Presley.
“It was… a collection that we’d all heard of,” Kruse told CNN in an email at the time. “It really was a myth and a legend until we got our hands on it.”
Priscilla Presley helped curate the sale and expressed in an interview with Reuters that she hoped her involvement would help combat the proliferation of fake Elvis memorabilia, adding: “I want to make sure that it goes to someone who cares about it, who loves it.” ”.
“Elvis deserved to have this collection found and displayed to preserve his legacy,” Kruse said in a press release. “His followers of him also needed to know about this collection after 50 years and all the stories attached to each piece.”
Dozens more Elvis Presley memorabilia have been listed as part of an auction of “Hollywood and music artifacts” that began in December 2022.
Kruse told Reuters the items, including an address book belonging to the “It’s Now or Never” singer, had increased in value since the death of Lisa Marie Presley in an interview published last week.
According to a press release, “The phone address book is well documented by a personal recollection of Priscilla Presley which adds to its unique provenance.” It sold for $10,000, according to information from the auction site.
The life and career of Elvis Presley returned to the spotlight in a big way last summer with the Warner Bros. film “Elvis,” starring actor Austin Butler in the title role. Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley pitched in to support the project. They appeared together at the Golden Globe Awards for the film in January, just days before Lisa Marie’s death. (CNN and Warner Bros. are part of Warner Bros. Discovery.)
Away from the spotlight, however, one of Lisa Marie Presley’s friends told CNN there was tension between the mother and daughter.
“They put up a united front for the movie. It’s a family business and they knew if they started fighting publicly it could hurt the bottom line,” the friend said. “It was a complicated relationship.”