L-R) Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood, Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley, Riley Keough, and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood attend the Handprint Ceremony honoring Three Generations of Presley's at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 21, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

The Battle Over Elvis Presley's Estate, Explained


With the massive success and critical acclaim over Baz Luhrmann's Elvis,  starring Austin Butler as the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley's legacy is a hot topic of conversation. In just a few days, the film will compete for Best Picture at the 2023 Academy Awards and its star Austin Butler will go up against Colin Farrell, Brendan Fraser, Paul Mescal and Bill Nighy for Actor in a Leading Role. The film, along with Butler's performance, has earned high praise from Presley's family; Presley's granddaughter, actress Riley Keough, said Butler was able to "capture the humanity" of her late grandfather

"I couldn't have imagined anyone being able to pull off what he did in terms of embodying my grandfather," Keough said during an appearance on Live With Kelly and Ryan. "It was really shocking and emotional."

No matter how the Oscars ceremony shakes out, it's clear that the film meant a great deal to the Presley family, including Priscilla, Presley's ex-wife, and Lisa Marie, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla. Both were in attendance at the 2023 Golden Globe awards when Butler took home the gold for his portrayal and were visibly moved by his heartfelt acceptance speech. Just days after the Golden Globes ceremony, Lisa Marie tragically passed away at the age of 54.

Now, as discussion of the hit film builds leading up to the Oscars, a dispute over the Elvis Presley estate is quietly brewing. So what's behind the battle and what does the future hold for Graceland? Below, we break down the dispute and what each party has said about the matter.


Who Owns Elvis Presley's Estate?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Riley Keough (L) and Lisa Marie Presley attend ELLE's 24th Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on October 16, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

According to the New York Times, within a few weeks after Lisa Marie's death, Priscilla Presley went to court to challenge the validity of documents that name her granddaughter Riley Keough as the sole trustee of Elvis Presley's estate.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the point of contention is a 2016 document, which replaced Presley and Barry Siegel (Lisa Marie's former manager) as co-trustees of Lissa Marie's trust with Lisa Marie's children, Riley and Benjamin Keough. (Benjamin Keough died by suicide in 2020.) The document would give control of the trust, which includes the Graceland mansion and a 15 percent stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises, to Lisa Marie's eldest children.

Priscilla and Elvis Presley on their wedding day.

Bettmann/Getty Images

However, Priscilla Presley, who was married to Elvis Presley from 1967 to 1972 and remained lifelong friends with the music legend, says she had no knowledge of the 2016 document and says it should be voided due to several factors, including the fact that Lisa Marie did not inform her of the changes, as required by the terms of the trust.

US Weekly reports that, according to sources, Riley Keough, who's currently starring in the Prime Video series Daisy Jones & the Six,  frequently acted as a mediator between her mother and grandmother.


"Riley knew there was contention with her mom and grandmother and has always tried to be a bridge between them," the source told the outlet. "She's still doing this even after her mother's death, but still honoring her mother's wishes."

"This is such a joyous time for Riley, she has so many amazing projects she's promoting right now and Riley knows her mother was proud of her and would have wanted her to continue on," the source continued.

If the 2016 document is voided, Priscilla and Riley would serve as co-trustees.

"Priscilla doesn't want Riley solely in charge, because then she has no say," a source told People (quote via People). "Meanwhile, Riley doesn't want Priscilla to butt in."


Though sources told People that Keough and Priscilla "don't see eye to eye" over Lisa Marie's trust, Priscilla Presley denied any family infighting in a statement.

"I loved Elvis very much as he loved me," Priscilla Presley said (quote via The Los Angeles Times. "Lisa is a result of our love. For anyone to think anything differently would be a travesty of the family legacy and would be disrespectful of what Elvis left behind in his life."

There's no word yet over whether Keough or Presley will be in attendance at this Sunday's (March 12) Oscars ceremony.

How Much is the Elvis Presley Estate Worth?

MEMPHIS, TN - CIRCA 1957: Rock and roll singer Elvis Presley strolls the grounds of his Graceland estate in circa 1957. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

According to the New York Times,  the Elvis brand rakes in over $100 million a year, a significant portion of which comes from licensed merchandise, such as apparel, and tickets to Graceland. However, the Presley family only receives a portion of the proceeds.


According to court documents, in 2005, Lisa Marie and her business manager sold 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises for about $50 million in cash, $25 million in stock in investor Robert F.X. Sillerman's entertainment company, CKX, and $22 million in debt relief. In turn, Lisa Marie's trust would keep 15 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises and the Graceland mansion, which was appraised at $5.6 million in 2021.


READ MORE: Elvis' Granddaughter Riley Keough Channels Rock Star Legacy in First Songs From 'Daisy Jones & The Six'