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Lisa Marie Presley’s Death Highlights Estate Challenges of Multigenerational Fame

Lisa Marie Presley’s Estate: A Legal View on Challenges Ahead. Nothing educates the public about estate law (and, sometimes, probate litigation) like the death of a celebrity. The passing of Lisa Marie Presley is likely no exception. High-profile deaths often shine a light on the sometimes complex post-death proceedings to shuttle a person’s wealth to his or her heirs or beneficiaries — assuming the estate is solvent when all is said and done and there is something to distribute. This process is referred to as “post-death administration” and, often, with famous decedents, it is marred by complications such as pending lawsuits and claims by creditors. By all accounts, it appears Ms. Presley’s estate will encounter the same fate.

Ms. Presley’s untimely death presents complex estate administration issues that will need to be sorted out in the coming months and, likely, years. What typically happens, or should happen, when a person dies is for her representative (i.e. executor or trustee) to marshal all of her assets, pay her debts (including applicable federal estate taxes), and then distribute any balance to her heirs or beneficiaries. This process is meant to be simple and streamlined but, in reality, can take years.

Although Ms. Presley’s passing is very recent, publicly-available information indicates her estate administration may teeter on the complicated side. The reasons for this include the fact that Ms. Presley is what one would call a “legacy celebrity.” Her fame didn’t simply start and end with her. She inherited more than wealth from her father, who was none other than the King of Rock and Roll. Simply being the daughter of Elvis Presley gave Ms. Presley icon status, arguably in perpetuity. Adding to her legacy status is the fact that Ms. Presley’s mother, Pricilla Presley, is a famous actress. The fact that Lisa Marie Presley herself acted and released albums added additional layers of fame. Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Ms. Presley’s (albeit brief) marriage to Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. Most go through life not even coming remotely close to being associated with any sort of musical juggernaut, and yet, Ms. Presley was closely linked to two of the most talented musical giants of all time. While all that fame should and typically does come with a lot of wealth, sadly, in Ms. Presley’s case, that may not be the reality for her heirs.

All of that messy litigation raises at least one burning question: What will Ms. Presley’s three daughters inherit from her? In other words, how much of that Elvis Presley legacy is still left to be passed down to his granddaughters, two of whom are still minors? We know that Ms. Presley personally owned Graceland and her father’s personal effects, so there is a possibility that her daughters will inherit Ms. Presley’s interest in those assets. That is assuming those assets are not consumed by their liabilities. Ms. Presley’s heirs may also inherit any intellectual property rights that Ms. Presley owned and monetized. Finally, Ms. Presley’s untimely death may generate future revenue for her heirs in the form of post-mortem book deals and movies.

Read more related articles at:

All Shook Up: What’s Left in Lisa Marie Presley’s Estate?

These Are All the Plans for Graceland After Lisa Marie Presley’s Death

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