Lisa Marie Presley Ex Seeks Proxy Position Amid Trust Battle. How He Could Become Co-Trustee.
Michael Lockwood filed ex-parte petitions to be appointed guardian ad litem on March 7, asking the court that he be allowed to represent the interests of his two minor daughters in an upcoming hearing in probate court.
The Lisa Marie Presley trust battle is heading to court in May, and her ex-husband may play a role in the proceedings.
Michael Lockwood filed ex-parte petitions for appointment of guardian ad litem on March 7, seeking to represent the interests of his minor daughters Harper and Finley in the probate hearing that will determine which of their late mother's trusts will be validated by the court.
Lockwood claims in both petitions that there is no conflict of interest because he is not a beneficiary of the trust.
"The minor is a beneficiary of a trust at issue before the probate court in the above-referenced case," reads the petition obtained by Inside Edition Digital. "The minor requires appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent her interests in the proceeding. There is no conflict regarding appointment because the proposed guardian is not a beneficiary of the trust instrument at issue."
The lawyer for Harper and Finley also filed documents supporting Lockwood's bid to serve as guardian ad litem.
The decision on Lockwood's application will be made in April, just a few weeks before the hearing to determine which of Lisa Marie's trusts is valid.
It is Lisa Marie's mother Priscilla Presley who is contesting a version of the trust purportedly amended in 2016. In a January legal filing she asked the court to declare that trust invalid and validate a version of the trust that Lisa Marie amended in 2010..
The 2010 trust, amended from a version of The Promenade Trust first created by Lisa Marie in 1993, names Priscilla and Lisa Marie's former business manager as co-trustees.
Priscilla alleges in court papers that the trust purportedly amended in 2016, which removes her and Lisa Marie's former business manager as trustees, is not valid because she never received a copy of the document before her daughter's death, a condition that is required as stated in the 2010 amended trust. She also claims that her name is misspelled in the document and that Lisa Marie’s signature “appears to be inconsistent” with her usual and customary signature.
Lockwood would only serve as a proxy for his two daughters' interests if his applications are approved, and he is not a beneficiary of either trust.
However, the 2010 trust does give him the right to be the co-trustee of his two daughters' trusts.
Inside Edition Digital obtained a copy of the 2010 trust, which states that Lockwood "shall have the right to act as Co-trustee of any trust established hereunder for his benefit or for the benefit of a child of ours. Upon receipt of a written instrument signed by Michael and delivered to the then acting Trustee, Michael shall act as Co-trustee with the then acting Trustee or Co-trustees."
In that role, Lockwood, like the other trustees, could distribute money to his daughters as he deemed necessary, according to the trust.
"Whenever the Trustee shall have the power to make discretionary payments of income or principal for the 'reasonable support' of a beneficiary from any trust under this instrument, the Trustee shall make those payments only when, in the Trustee’s discretion, the beneficiary needs additional money for support in the beneficiary’s accustomed manner of living, for medical, dental, hospital and nursing expenses, or for Education, including study at the college and graduate levels," the 2010 trust states. "In making such discretionary payments of income or principal to a beneficiary, any Trustee who also is that beneficiary shall consider the resources available to the Trustee—beneficiary from other sources."
The 2010 trust also gives Lockwood control over any college saving accounts that might have been created for daughters Harper and Finley, unless Lisa Marie named a "successor owner" prior to her death.
And as a co-trustee, Lockwood, like the other trustees, would be entitled to compensation, according to the 2010 trust.
"Each Trustee shall be entitled to receive reasonable compensation for services as Trustee, including services in connection with the partial or complete termination of the trust," the 2010 trust reads. "Each Trustee shall be entitled to reimbursement for all reasonable expenses incurred on behalf of the trust."
The 2010 trust also details a new trust Lisa Marie instructed the trustees to create upon her death, which she called the Promenade Marital Trust.
"If Michael survives me, following my death the Promenade Marital Trust shalt be held, administered, and distributed as set forth below," Lisa Marie writes in the 2010 trust.
What follows is eight subsections detailing what the trustee should provide to Lockwood via the Marital Trust should Lisa Marie die.
These instructions include:
- "The Trustee shall allocate the entire remaining balance of the trust estate to this trust."
- "The Trustee shall pay the entire net income of the trust received after my death to Michael during Michael’s lifetime, in quarterly or more frequent installments."
- A “Selected Residence,” which is defined as "a residential property the trust then holds or receives as a result of my death wherever located, as selected by Michael in a written direction delivered to the Trustee within six (6) months following my death."
- "Michael shall have the right to occupy and use the Selected Residence for his life, without rental or accounting to the Trustee."
- "The Selected Residence ... allocated to the Promenade Marital Trust may be sold by the Trustee only with Michael’s consent or at Michael’s direction. The proceeds of the sale of the Selected Residence may be applied to the purchase of a substitute residence for Michael of equal of lesser value."
- "Michael shall have the right to use the [selected residence] Tangible Personal Property without rental or accounting to the Trustee for so long as he occupies the Selected Residence."
None of that will be received by Lockwood, however, even if Priscilla is successful in her quest to reinstate the 2010 trust because of the final clause Lisa Marie included in the 42-page document:
"All of the gifts made to or for the benefit of Michael hereunder shalt be conditioned upon Michael being married to and living together with at the time of my death," Lisa Marie wrote.
Savaun Perry, an estate-planning attorney who founded her own firm and provides legal tips as The Savvy Mommie on social media, tells Inside Edition Digital that this clause likely would not impact Lockwood's right to be a co-trustee. Perry is not involved in the Presley case.
"The trust does not explicitly state that as trustee, he would qualify for gifts or distributions," Perry says. "However, as a trustee, he would be required to manage the assets in the trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries, in this case, his daughters."
Lockwood also has the right to seek compensation if he is appointed as the trustee per trust guidelines with respect to trustee compensation, Perry says.
"Serving as a trustee can be a big responsibility, especially for a trust of a considerable size," Perry notes. "As trustee, you are charged with the task of making sure all of the beneficiaries of the trust needs are met and that you are managing the trust responsibly. In addition, the trustee may also have to perform accounting related tasks, paying taxes on the trust if it is income accruing, and strictly adhering to all of the guidelines of the trust."
Perry adds: "And [Lisa Marie] may have been advised of this, so she has made allowances in consideration of the work the trustee will have to do so that the trustee is fairly compensated."
She also notes that Lockwood, like many other parents similarly situated, might attempt to be appointed as guardian ad litem in a state like California, where a guardian ad litem is not required to be a lawyer, to protect the best interests of their child. "He has every right to try, as these are his children," Perry points out. "And obviously, in cases like this where there are considerable assets to consider, I could see why he wants to be the guardian ad litem."
Perry does note though that while Lockwood may claim that no conflict exists if he is named guardian ad litem, that determination is ultimately for the court to decide.
"The judge will have the final say and determine whether there is, in fact, a conflict of interest," Perry says. "In my experience, some courts tend to appoint a neutral guardian ad litem to advocate for the child's best interests, as these cases can be very contentious due to grief and the sensitive nature of the issues considered."
Friends of Lisa Marie previously told Inside Edition Digital that she also had a strained relationship with her mother in recent years because Priscilla remained close with Lockwood. Priscilla also arrived to her daughter's funeral with Lockwood and her two granddaughters.
It is only Lockwood and Priscilla who have submitted documents in the proceedings.
Lisa Marie's oldest daughter, Riley, has yet to comment on the matter, but has retained the same lawyer her mother used in a 2018 lawsuit in which she sued one of the former co-trustee's of her estate, Barry Siegel.
Siegel, who admitted no wrongdoing in that case, acknowledged he was no longer a trustee in his countersuit against Lisa Marie in that case, as previously reported by Inside Edition Digital. He would be reinstated as co-trustee should the court validate the 2010 trust, unless he chooses to step down.
In her court filing, Priscilla claims "that Barry has already or will soon resign as a co-Trustee of the Trust, and that "in such event, Riley would become a co-Trustee with Petitioner with respect to the Trust and all trust created thereunder."
Reps and lawyers for Priscilla, Lockwood, Riley, Siegel and Finley and Harper did not respond to requests for comment from Inside Edition Digital.
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