Last week, a woman claiming to be Elvis' half-sister and daughter to Elvis' father Vernon Presley (pictured together, below), withdrew her claim from probate court. She was trying to be declared as Vernon Presley's heir. In fact, Eliza Presley (who had her name legally changed from Alice Elizabeth Tiffin this summer) was granted the right to re-open Vernon's Estate in October. Read about it here: Estate of Elvis' dad reopened for woman claiming she's his daughter (Memphis Commercial Appeal, Oct 8, 2008).
Eliza's story began when she received a letter from a man named Jessie Presley. And get this -- this man actually is Elvis according to Eliza (still alive and kicking!) -- and she has the DNA to prove it! He mailed her a letter and licked the envelope giving her the proof she needs (or so she says). Eliza only withdrew her claim so she could file it in another court.
Elvis Presley Enterprises and Lisa Marie Presley Lockwood say Eliza is merely the latest in a long string of people falsely claiming to be related to Elvis. There have been many "Elvis, Jr.'s" for example. And Eliza's own mother says she knew Elvis, but was never romantically involved with his father. She believes her daughter is making it all up, and even had plastic surgery to help convince others that she belonged in the Presley family.
This will be a fun one to keep an eye on! It would be a pretty neat trick for Elvis -- or Jessie Presley as he is now allegedly called -- to stay hidden all these years only to be discovered because he licked an envelope.
It just goes to show you that estate battles can come in many different ways -- sometimes even after decades have passed. Vernon Presley died in 1979. So even if Eliza is telling the truth (anyone want to take odds on that bet?) she couldn't recover any money because Vernon's estate has long since been distributed.
That's why probate litigation cases can be so interesting -- you never know who may surface or what they may claim! It's almost always better to avoid probate court entirely with a living trust. And no, a will is not enough! My law firm, and many others across the country, can help protect families from these types of probate messes. If you don't do the proper estate planning and your family has to go through probate court, there is no telling who may come out of the woodwork!
Posted by: Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Elder Law in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law. You can email him at awmayoras @ brmmlaw.com.Follow us on Google+