Lisa Marie Presley made some estate planning mistakes.
Estate planning should be undertaken with the help of professionals.
This is especially true for more complex estates or family dynamics.
Attempting to create or update an estate plan on your own can lead to issues with estate administration.
According to a recent Insurance NewsNet article titled “Presley beneficiary battle sets example of poor estate planning practices,” this likely happened with the estate of Lisa Marie Presley.
As the daughter of Priscilla Presley and Elvis Presley, Lisa Marie Presley became exposed to estate planning at a young age.
She was just nine years old when her father died, leaving behind an estate worth $5 million.
Adjusted for inflation, his assets would have $20 million in buying power today.
Elvis had created a trust and appointed his father as the trustee and executor of his estate.
The trust beneficiaries included his father, his grandmother, and Lisa Marie.
Priscilla was named as one of three trustees after the father of Elvis died.
Priscilla Presley helped increase the trust to $100 million as a trustee.
When the grandmother of Elvis died, only Lisa Marie Presley remained as a beneficiary.
Upon her 25th birthday, Lisa Marie inherited the whole $100 million.
At the age of 25, Lisa Marie could not handle the large sum.
Few of us would be, yes?
She blew through the $100 million and accumulated millions in debt.
A better estate planning strategy?
Create a trust without the lump sum at age 25, and provide for staggered distributions of fractional shares at set ages.
Better yet, create a multi-generational trust under which Lisa Marie would have received discretionary income and principal.
Despite her poor financial management, Lisa Marie left an estate of $35 million from two large life insurance policies.
About $2 million is owed to the IRS; at least $4 million will be required to pay debts.
Although Lisa Marie Presley had created a trust for her estate in 1993, her estate plan is being challenged.
A 2016 amendment was found to the trust, terminating her mother and former business manager as trustees and appointing the children of Lisa Marie as trustees and executors.
It is helpful to name professional trustees, especially for more complicated estates and families.
Although it is fairly common to make changes to a last will and testament using a codicil or an amendment to a trust, these should be done with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure they are valid.
The attorneys of Priscilla Presley claim no prior knowledge of the change to the trust.
Certain updates to estate plans require written notification to parties with interest in the estate.
This did not happen.
The attorneys also noted the amendment was not notarized or witnessed.
The signature of Lisa Marie Presley was also inconsistent with other signatures.
The preliminary hearing for the estate contest is set for April 13.
To avoid mistakes like those made in the estate planning of Lisa Marie Presley, work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Reference: Insurance NewsNet (Feb. 17, 2023) “Presley beneficiary battle sets example of poor estate planning practices”