The Legacy of Lisa Marie Presley A Tale of Music, Wealth, and Graceland

by

Riley Johnson

Updated

March 27, 2024

Updated

March 27, 2024

Updated

March 27, 2024

Lisa Marie Presley was an iconic artist born into the spotlight as the only daughter of legendary Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, and his wife, Priscilla. But in 1973, Elvis and Priscilla divorced, leaving Lisa Marie as the sole inheritor of her father’s estate when he died in 1977. Lisa Marie was just nine years old at that time. Since then, she has navigated through the legacy, superstardom, and phenomenon of Elvis Presley and Graceland – something that followed her until her passing on January 12, 2023, due to cardiac arrest at age 54. 

The passing of Lisa Marie adds another wrinkle to the lucrative musical legacy and fortune of Elvis Presley. 

Upon Elvis’ death, a trust fund left possession of the Graceland estate to Lisa Marie, which dissolved when she turned 25 years old. It was then that she had complete ownership of the property that hosts popular tours and museums that honor the King of Rock and Roll’s life and career. 

Finding significant meaning and purpose in her father’s estate, Lisa spent much of her final years managing Graceland with her mother. But despite inheriting the multi-million dollar music fortune and legacy, the reality is Lisa Marie was left to deal with the burdens of legal and family disputes. 

Lisa Marie Presley Net Worth: Debts and Divorce

Elvis Presley, as a business, wreaked in millions in profits through Graceland tourists, Elvis’s hit singles and albums, including Elvis impersonators. However, over the years, Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) has been stagnating. Lisa Marie was unhappy at how the business wasn’t going anywhere, so she sold 85% of the assets of Elvis Presley Enterprises in 2004 to Robert F.X. Sillerman and his company CKX Inc., reportedly worth more than $100 million. Lisa Marie retained 15% ownership of the business that manages Graceland operations and its related properties, as well as Graceland Archives. 

Further circumstances complicated Presley’s financial issues. According to court documents related to Lisa Marie’s divorce case with Michael Lockwood, she had over $16.7 million in debt from defaulted mortgage, credit card bills, and income taxes. Her then-business manager, Justin Stiegemeyer, claimed that Lisa Marie’s former business manager, Provident Financial Management, had allegedly mismanaged her finances.

At this time, Presley claimed that she received a monthly salary of $4,361 from her father’s estate, including $100,000 in dividends and interest from investments. But due to a painstaking divorce battle, Presley detailed her debts in a response to a court order in February 2017. 

At the time of her passing, Lisa Marie Presley’s net worth was valued at about -$10 million, which had a lot to do with the $100 million fortune she inherited at the time of Elvis’s death. Her successors may have to deal with litigation claims and creditors. It could ultimately come down to how closely Elvis’ descendants want to keep controlling his legacy – or, at least, its physical manifestation at Graceland.

Presley Trust Issues and the Graceland Dispute

When Lisa Marie passed, the Promenade Trust, which holds Graceland and represents Presley’s estate, stated that the property and contents were passed on to her daughter Riley Keough. This triggered a Presley estate battle.  

Two weeks after the death of Lisa Marie, the Graceland dispute began when Priscilla Presley questioned the validity of her daughter Lisa Marie’s will. In documents filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Priscilla sought to maintain control of Lisa Marie Presley’s trust. But following the death of her daughter, Priscilla Presley found a paper dated March 11, 2016, “pertaining to be an amendment” to the trust, according to the court declaration. According to the January filing, “there are many issues surrounding the authenticity and validity of the purported 2016 amendment.”

The alleged issues include that the amendment misspells Priscilla Presley’s name, was never delivered to Priscilla Presley, and that Lisa Marie Presley’s signature “appears inconsistent with her usual and customary signature,” the court document says. The “purported” change removed Lisa Marie Presley’s mother and manager as successor co-trustees, replacing them with her daughter Riley Keough and son Benjamin Keough. But because Benjamin died in 2020, Riley is the only trustee of her mother’s trust. 

A settlement was reached in May 2023, however, with both parties choosing to seal the records and details of the case, so exact terms are not known until this day. But as of August 2023, the Los Angeles Superior Court judge declared that Elvis’s only granddaughter, Riley Keough, is finally officially the only trustee of Graceland. This came after Riley agreed to have Priscilla Presley a lump-sum payment as part of a settlement over the late Lisa Marie’s will and financial trust. 

Riley Keough and the Future of Graceland

A Graceland representative confirmed that the Estate went to Riley Keough, Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood, and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood – Lisa Marie’s daughters, with a focus on Riley Keough. As the sole owner of the 13.8-acre mansion, she is tasked to preserve Graceland and the legend of Elvis Presley. 

Kicking off her inaugural Christmas Special, highlighting performances centered on renditions of Elvis’s songs by Alanis Morissette, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Kane Brown, Lainey Wilson, Lana Del Rey, Post Malone, and The War And Treaty. This move gave fans insight into how Riley will continue to uphold the King of Rock and Roll’s legacy. 

Riley will continue to take care of the affairs of the Graceland Estate, which includes the mansion’s operations, maintenance, and tax expenses. The property offers ticketed visits for guests to see Elvis’s classic car collection, the rockstar’s jumpsuits, his personal home, his trophy building, Vernon Presley’s business office, racquetball center, and the meditation garden where the King of Rock was buried. 

Lisa Marie Presley: Her Legacy and Her Memoir

Next to the White House, Graceland is the second most-visited house in the U.S. It was named to the American National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Today, the Elvis attraction is known to contribute some $150 million to the economy of Memphis each year, thanks to the legacy of Lisa Marie and other trustees.

To commemorate the memory of Lisa Marie Presley, a posthumous memoir is set to be released in October 2024. Lisa Marie was working on this book at the time of her death, and it was completed through the help of her daughter Riley. After listening to the tapes of her mother, she knew it was time for Lisa Marie’s voice to be heard. 

With all the tides Lisa Marie Presley had to turn to preserve her father’s musical legacy, Graceland today is now valued at approximately $1 billion. Known as the “White House of Rock and Roll,” the home of the King of Rock and Roll is a pilgrimage site that preserves his legacy. 

For Lisa Marie, the house was more than just a tourist attraction; it was always their home. And this is what Graceland stands for preserving Elvis’s legacy in music and as a home for his descendants. 


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