Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough settle dispute over Elvis Family Trust
For months, actress Riley Keough has remained silent about the legal dispute between her and her grandmother, Priscilla Presley, over control of the Presley Family Trust. Even as reports of family tensions surfaced, which Ms. Presley has tried to quell, Ms. Keough hadn’t weighed in publicly.
That silence largely continued on Tuesday when lawyers for Ms. Keough and Ms. Presley announced at a hearing in Los Angeles that the parties had reached a settlement in the case, but details would remain confidential.
The judge, Lynn Scaduto, set a June 12 deadline for the attorneys to file additional petitions, including a motion to have the settlement agreement filed sealed, and set an August 4 hearing at which the deal would be formally approved.
“The family is happy, united, together and looking forward to the future,” Ronson J. Shamoun, an attorney for Ms. Presley, said after the hearing.
Justin B. Gold, one of Ms. Keough’s attorneys, said only that “Riley is pleased” with the outcome.
The agreement, which was discussed in court on Tuesday, amounts to Ms. Keough’s first formal response in the battle for the remaining portion of Elvis’ family inheritance.
Two weeks after Lisa Marie Presley died suddenly in January at age 54, Priscilla Presley filed court documents challenging a 2016 amendment to the trust. That amendment, reportedly approved by Lisa Marie, had Priscilla and the family’s former business manager , Barry Siegel, removed as trustees. It had also appointed Mrs. Keough and Benjamin Keough, her brother, as co-custodians in the event of Lisa Marie’s death. (Mr. Keough died in 2020 at the age of 27.)
In her petition, Priscilla’s attorneys argued that the amendment was invalid, saying it was never presented to her during Lisa Marie’s lifetime, as required by the language of the trust. The court papers also alleged that the amendment may have been fraudulent, claiming that Lisa Marie’s signature was “in conflict” with her usual handwriting. Priscilla asked the court to recognize her as a trustee.
In a statement released in February, as the focus on the family dispute grew, Priscilla asked the public to “give us the time we need to work together and work this out.”
Ms. Keough’s attorneys have never filed publicly available court documents outlining their response to Priscilla’s petition. On Tuesday, Mr Gold did not address the petitioner’s legal arguments.
The parties have agreed that Michael Lockwood, the fourth husband of Lisa Marie from whom she sought a messy divorce for years (it was finalized in 2021), will serve as a guardian responsible for handling the legal affairs of the minor children of the couple, Finley and Harper Lockwood, who are each beneficiaries of the trust along with Mrs. Keough.
Quarrels in Presley’s family are nothing new to Elvis’ fans, who are well acquainted with his history of divorces, wasteful spending and legal entanglements. But despite all the junk exhibited over the years, the Elvis brand remains a moneymaker today, raking in more than $100 million a year.
The Presley family’s share of that income is funneled into the family trust, known as the Promenade Trust. It retains 15 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises and the main Graceland home in Memphis, making it worth tens of millions of dollars. As The New York Times reported, Lisa Marie drew $1.25 million in income from the trust before her death last year.