Priscilla Presley: Challenges to Wills
It has been reported recently that Priscilla Presley has contested the validity of her late daughter, Lisa Marie’s Will.
The challenge centres around a 2016 amendment to Lisa Marie Presley’s Will which removed Priscilla Presley as the estate trustee and replaced her with Lisa Marie’s children.
Priscilla has suggested that the amendment contained a spelling mistake in respect of Priscilla’s name, and that the signature appeared unusual. Priscilla has also argued that her daughter failed to notify her of the amendment.
Although this case is being brought in Los Angeles, whose laws regarding the validity of Wills are different from those in England and Wales, the case serves as an important reminder of the requirements for valid Wills in this jurisdiction. A Will could be found to be invalid in England and Wales on the following grounds:
- Whether the formalities contained within S.9 of the Wills Act 1837 have been complied with. For example, if a witness was not present when the testator executed the Will.
- If the testator did not have capacity when preparing the Will.
- Whether the testator knew and approved the contents of the Will. For example, if it can be proved that the testator did not understand the contents or effect of the Will then it will be invalid (i.e. if it was not properly read through by the solicitor before execution).
- If it can be evidenced that the testator was unduly influenced (either directly or indirectly) then the Will will be invalid.
- Allegations of fraudulently prepared Wills or Codicils.
- Whether the Will is valid when the original cannot be located following the death of the deceased.
If a Will is found to be invalid, the Deceased’s estate will either pass under the terms of the earlier, valid Will (if one exists), or under the rules of intestacy.
If you have any concerns about the validity of a Will, be it that of a deceased family member or your own Will, please contact Laura Alliss, Head of Geldards Contentious Trusts and Estates team.