Elvis Presley: What Happened to the King’s Money When He Died?

by Keeli Parkey

It should come as no surprise that his legendary music career made Elvis Presley a very rich man. However, thanks to the fancy lifestyle he chose to lead, quite a bit of his wealth was used for that purpose.

Even so, he still had millions of dollars in the bank when he passed away at the young age of 42 on Aug. 16, 1977. According to a recent article by The Express from the United Kingdom, Presley was worth five million dollars when he died. That amount in 1977 money is about $19.6 million in 2021 dollars.

But because of her young age, Lisa Marie was not able to inherit her father’s money and assets at the time of his death. Instead, her mother, Priscilla Presley, and her grandfather, Vernon, were in charge of Elvis Presley’s estate. Vernon was the father of the King of Rock and Roll.

So, what happened to the money the King of Rock and Roll left behind? Well, unsurprisingly, it went to his one and only child. That child is Lisa Marie Presley. She was only 9 years old when her famous father passed away.

The assets Elvis Presley left behind also included the rights to his image. There were also the rights of his famous home, Graceland.

Deal Signed by Elvis Presley and His Manager Before Limited What Singer’s Daughter Could Receive After His Death

However, due to a decision by Elvis Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, the royalties Lisa Marie Presley could have received after her father died were “signed away.”

It was during 1973 that Presley and Parker worked out a deal. As part of this deal, they received payment for the future royalties on songs he had already recorded. This, of course, was made up of many of the singer’s hit songs. It was a deal signed with RCA and Presley and Parker split the $5.4 million payment. That $5.4 million is worth about $31.5 million in 2021.

While this was a big payday for Elvis Presley and his manager, it was not such a good deal for the King of Rock and Roll’s daughter. Because of this deal, Lisa Marie was not able to earn royalties on any of her father’s songs prior to March 1973. After that time, she did inherit royalties on his songs.

Fortunately for Lisa Marie Presley, she also received the publishing rights to her famous father’s work. This included approximately 700 songs.

With so much to manage, Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) was created to oversee what happened to what the King of Rock and Roll left behind. It was during 2005 that Lisa Marie opted to sell 85 percent of EPE to the CKX company. Included in the sale were Elvis Presley’s image rights as well as intellectual and physical properties. This 85 percent was later sold to the Authentic Brand Group.

However, Lisa Marie did choose to keep her ownership of Graceland. She also kept many of his personal possessions. As many people already know, Graceland is a very popular tourist attraction in Memphis, Tennessee.