All Shook Up: Lisa Marie Presley’s Trust
In January 2023, Elvis Presley’s only daughter, Lisa Marie, died. Multiple online news sources subsequently reported that Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla Presley, filed documents in a California court alleging that Lisa Marie’s 2016 Trust Amendment is invalid. More specifically, online news sources reported that the trust amendment contains a misspelling of Priscilla’s name, there was a failure to notify Priscilla of the trust amendment, the signature of Lisa Marie looks atypical, and there is a lack of witnesses and notarization on the document.
The trust which is at issue appears to be, from the various online news courses, a living or revocable trust, allowing control over assets during a lifetime and distribution of assets on death, and almost similar to a will if there is no separate will; in Lisa Marie’s case, there does not seem to be any separate will at issue which was deposited (filed) with the California court.
Meeting the execution requirements would likely be the first and foremost issue for determination, particularly if on review of the document, it is indeed facially deficient.
If this situation were in Florida, if a revocable trust has any testamentary provisions, it must be executed with the same formalities as a will pursuant to Fla. Stat. 736.0403. What does this mean? It means that the trust must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary (i.e., see Fla. Stat. 732.502).
While Florida law does not necessarily require a revocable trust to be valid, prudent estate planners commonly include the self-proving affidavit as part of the revocable trust just as they would with a will, thereby requiring a notary to also sign the trust together with the 2 witnesses.
Should you have any questions or concerns on a trust document’s validity, particularly on its execution, it is wise to speak with your trusted estate and trust lawyer. Moreover, other certain issues such as the spelling of names and other requirements being met, may involve certain evidentiary matters, also for discussion with your lawyer.