The ex-wife of Elvis Presley, Priscilla is currently challenging the validity of an amendment that was made to her daughter, Lisa Marie’s Will in 2016.
Lisa Marie, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla died on 12 January 2023 aged 54.
The amendment to Lisa Marie’s Will removes Priscilla as an estate trustee and replaces her with Lisa Marie’s eldest daughter Riley. This means Priscilla would no longer oversee the distribution of her daughter’s assets.
Priscilla’s lawyers claim that the amendment is invalid as the signature by Lisa Marie “appears inconsistent with her usual signature” and the document also misspells Priscilla’s name. Furthermore, Priscilla claims she never received this amendment which was specifically required by the Will and she only became aware of this after Lisa Marie’s death.
Her lawyers also argue that the amendment was not witnessed and should be deemed invalid.
The above dispute will be subject to American Law. However such disputes regularly arise in England and Wales.
For a Will to be valid in England and Wales it must comply with the formalities set out in section 9 Wills Act 1837:-
- The Will must be “in writing and signed by the testator or by some other person in his presence and at his direction”;
- The testator must have intended to give effect to the Will;
- The Will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses;
- Each witness must attest and sign the Will in the presence of the testator.
The evidence regarding the potential lack of any witnesses and the validity of the deceased’s signature will be important to consider in this case. In relation to the validity of the signature, the assistance of a handwriting expert may be called upon.
There are several different factors in which you can challenge the validity of a Will:
- Lacking testamentary capacity – if the testator did not have the requisite mental capacity at the time that they made the Will, this would render it invalid.
- Undue influence – if the testator was pressured into making a specific Will or amending their Will, any gifts can be taken away.
- Approval and knowledge – this considers whether the testator properly understood and accepted the Will when signing it.
- Lack of due execution – if the Will was not signed or witnessed properly this will render it invalid.
- Forgery – if the testator’s signature was forged by someone else, this will be invalid.
- Fraudulent calumny – if the testator was persuaded into excluding someone from the Will under false pretences this can render the Will invalid.
Inheritance disputes are something we specialise in here at Attwells. If you are concerned about the validity or authenticity of a Will please contact Edward Powell who has over 25 years of experience and is happy to discuss any potential matter on a ‘no charge, no obligation basis’.