Elvis Enterprises' Joel Weinshanker on Lisa Marie Presley's Wishes for Graceland: It 'Was Always Riley'

Last month, Lisa Marie's mom Priscilla Presley filed a petition contesting the singer-songwriter's will, which left her trust to her three daughters

Joel Weinshanker, Lisa Marie Presley
Joel Weinshanker and Lisa Marie Presley. Photo: Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock

Before Lisa Marie Presley died last month, she had planned who she would leave her trust to: her children.

On what would've been Lisa Marie's 55th birthday on Wednesday, Joel Weinshanker, managing partner at Elvis Presley Enterprises, made an appearance on Sirius XM's Elvis Radio to celebrate her life and set the record straight on what she always wanted for the future of Graceland.

"Everyone knew that when Elvis passed away, he left everything to his little girl. He did so knowing that she would be the one to keep his legacy going," Weinshanker said.

"We got along so well because we were both trying to do what was best for Elvis, regardless of what somebody else was trying to do, regardless of what a family member would do," he said. "Lisa couldn't be bought, she couldn't be pushed. If she felt that something wasn't in Elvis' best interest, it was never about money. And she really is the only Presley that you could say that about."

He then said that Lisa Marie, the only child of rock legend Elvis Presley, was "quite certain" and "very direct" about who she wanted to carry on the legacy.

"We discussed this many many times [before] she passed, and that was always Riley and Ben," he said of her kids Riley Keough and Benjamin Keough, whom she shared with ex Danny Keough. "There was never a question in her mind that they would be the stewards, that they would look at it the exact same way that she did. And obviously when Ben passed, it really sat with Riley."

He also insisted that though Riley has a career in acting and directing, she "always had an interest" and "knew that one day she would be in charge."

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Weinshanker concluded by saying that fans should celebrate Lisa Marie's birthday by honoring "her words." And though her death is devastating, he said "the best years of Graceland are ahead of us."

His appearance comes less than a week after attorneys for Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie's mom, filed a petition in Los Angeles questioning the "authenticity and validity" of Lisa Marie's will, which states that her trust — which includes Elvis' Graceland property and 15 percent ownership of Elvis' estate — would be left to her three daughters.

The petition claimed that a 2016 amendment that put the trust in the hands of Riley, 33, and twins Harper and Finley Lockwood, 14, is invalid.

According to the petition, which was obtained by PEOPLE, Lisa Marie wrote a living will in 1993 and amended it in 2010, making Priscilla a co-trustee alongside her former business manager Barry Siegel.

But after Lisa Marie's death, Priscilla discovered an amendment that had been added in 2016, which booted both her and Siegel as co-trustees and replaced them with Riley, her brother, Ben, who died by suicide in 2020, and her twin sisters. A rep for Riley could not be reached by PEOPLE at the time.

The petition alleges "many issues surrounding the authenticity and validity" of the amendment, including the fact that it was never given to Priscilla while Lisa Marie was alive "as required by the express terms of the Trust," that Lisa Marie's signature was "inconsistent" with her usual signature, and that there was no witness or notarization.

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Priscilla, 77, is claiming that the 2010 amendment is still "the authoritative and controlling document," and is requesting the court order the 2016 amendment invalid. A rep for Priscilla had no comment when reached by PEOPLE.

On Wednesday, Priscilla shared a written statement with PEOPLE honoring Lisa Marie's birthday.

"Today would have been Lisa's 55th birthday. My wish is to protect my three grandchildren and keep our family together," Priscilla wrote.

"From the first moment I held Lisa in my arms, I've protected, loved and guided her, as I have my son," she continued. "Our hearts are broken, and I am having to learn to live without my only daughter."

"We truly love all of you, and we feel your prayers. Thank you so much for caring so deeply for our family," concluded Priscilla's note.

Priscilla confirmed the news of Lisa Marie's death in a statement on Jan. 12, hours after news that she had been rushed to the hospital broke: "It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," she said.

The family is still waiting for toxicology reports to be returned before the official cause of death can be declared.

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