Elvis Presley gave his fortune to his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, after his unfortunate death. However, his fortune was far less than many might have expected, given some poor deals dealt to him by his then-manager, Colonel Tom Parker. In the end, his lifetime earnings took a hit after his death, leaving Lisa Marie with far less.
Elvis Presley was not left with the huge amounts of money during his lifetime despite estimates placing his lifetime earnings between $100million and $1billion (£76.2million and £762million.)
Elvis is reported to have enjoyed spending his money on his family and friends, and it has been alleged The King ran low on cash from time to time.
However, after his death, he was reported as having just $5million (£3.8million) in his bank account, along with a huge amount of debt.
He named his grandmother, Minnie Mae, his father Vernon and ex-wife Priscilla executors of his estate, with Lisa Marie expected to inherit everything once Vernon and Minnie Mae died.
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The executors also had to pay a major IRS estate tax of $10million, (£7.6million) after the IRS determined Elvis’ estate was actually worth more than just the small amount which was first believed.
As well as this, Elvis’ estate, much of which is owned by Lisa Marie Presley, was not going to earn much in the way of royalties, as some of them belong to RCA, his record company.
In March 1973, Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager, suggested Elvis be given a lump sum in lieu of all future royalties for anything recorded up to that time.
Of course, by 1973, Elvis had quite the back catalogue to work with, meaning this would have earned RCA a huge amount of money.
The deal was done and RCA paid Elvis and Colonel Tom $5.4million (£4.2million), which was then split equally between the two men.
The sum of $5.4million would be worth $31,512,240 in today’s money, or £24,250,716.98.
As a result of this deal, Lisa Marie does not own the artist’s royalties on sales of recordings made before March 1973.
However, the Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) does own his artist’s royalties on sales of recordings made after that date, which still earns them a hefty sum.
EPE also still holds the publishing rights to all of the songs recorded by Elvis, which equals around 700, as they were part-owned by Elvis through his various publishing companies.
The publisher’s royalties to his songs, therefore, are still earned by the EPE, as these were not sold to RCA.
Of course, his publishing contracts are liable to expire, after which those songs can no longer earn publishing royalties by the EPE, but can earn artist’s royalties for RCA.
Colonel Tom was eventually taken to court to be removed from future earnings of Elvis’ work, and all agreements which stipulated his ‘exorbitant’ fee were terminated.
Luckily, Priscilla took charge and turned Graceland, Elvis’ home, into a tourist attraction, which helped grow the estate significantly to around $100million by 1993, meaning the loss in royalties was not as big a problem.
In 1993, Lisa Marie turned 25, which meant she became eligible to inherit Elvis’ money directly from his will, as she was the primary heir to his massive fortune.
She became more closely linked to the trust created to manage her funds, the Elvis Presley Trust, until in 2005 when 85 percent of the estate’s business holdings were sold.
Despite this, Lisa Marie still owns Graceland itself and all of the property within it.
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