Suspicious Minds – The Litigation Legacy of Elvis Presley Lives On

Stephen Lawson, head of contentious probate at Nicholson Jones Sutton comments on the recent court case about the estate of Elvis Presley.

Suspicious minds is the title of Elvis Presley’s last chart-topping single in the United States – and is regarded as one of his best and most well-loved songs.

Elvis was right to take a critical look at life. There is an apparent duet sung by Freddie Mercury of Queen and Elvis Presley singing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. This song was not written by Freddie Mercury until 1979 – but Elvis Presley died in 1977. Seeing is not always believing!

But there was another reason why Elvis should have been critically suspicious.

Elvis, and his wife, Priscilla Presley, only had one child – Lisa Marie Presley. She died tragically young in January 2023 – but there has been a long-running dispute about who should administer her estate – Lisa Marie’s daughter – Riley Keough became embroiled in litigation with her grandmother – Priscilla Presley. After much litigation Priscilla agreed that Riley could administer the estate – but it has now been reported by the Daily Mail that Riley agreed to pay her grandmother $1.4 million settlement.

Unfortunately disputes about the administration of a Will, or trust, aren’t just confined to the super rich. We are often called upon to help people sort out problems about the administration of a trust or Will. In our experience these problems fall into the following categories: –

  • The beneficiaries “fall out” with the Executors – perhaps because the beneficiaries feel that the Executors are taking far too long to administer an estate. Whilst there is no law here which says how long it should take to administer an estate the courts often take note of “the Executor’s year” – if Executors take longer than a year to administer an estate then questions may be legitimately asked – sometimes, of course, there are good reasons why it would take longer than a year to administer an estate which is why there is no absolute time limit. In one recent case we dealt with we saw that some solicitors had not completed the administration of an estate where their client had died in the 1980s!

  • Sometimes Executors “fall out” between themselves and an estate becomes “deadlocked” – so nothing at all gets done.

So, what we do.

We are often asked to help Executors or beneficiaries to resolve issues. We can usually sort any outstanding issues amicably – without the need to engage in court proceedings – but sometimes parties become so entrenched in their positions that the only way to complete the administration of the estate is to have some or all of the Executors removed and fresh administrators appointed – whilst we have seen some cases take several years to get to court we find that most cases settle quite quickly – we have had cases go from start to finish at a court hearing in 12 months – with an order for costs made by a court in favour of our client.


The first step is to take a step – give us a call. We can help.

The second step is to chill out to some good old Elvis Presley tunes and remember the happy days…


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