Leonard Cohen’s son, daughter sues attorney over $48 million estate

It could be a bird on the wire – or a highly dramatic legal conspiracy.

Evening Standard / Stringer I Getty Images

Leonard Cohen in 1980.

An attorney for Leonard Cohen’s children claims Robert Kory, an attorney, swapped a page in Cohen’s 2005 trust document to appoint himself trustee of the late singer’s $48 million estate, the New York Post reported on Monday, citing court documents.

“Leonard Cohen’s attorneys and managers forged his trust so they could mine millions of dollars of estate and steal Hall of Famer inheritance from his own children,” an attorney for two of Cohen’s children, Adam Streisand, told the outlet.

Who is Leonard Cohen?

Born in Canada in 1934, Leonard Cohen was a well-known singer and songwriter of the 1960s and 1970s, writing songs such as “Bird on the Wire” and “Suzanne.” He also wrote “Hallelujah,” which Jeff Buckley famously covered in 1994. Cohen was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Cohen also released a final album in October 2016, less than a month before his death, and a song on the album won a Grammy after his death.

Why are Leonard Cohen’s kids fighting for his trust?

Cohen had two children, Adam, 50, and Lorca, 48, with Suzanne Elrod. Both Adam and Lorca have been in a legal battle in Los Angeles for more than a year for control of the numerous assets of Cohen’s estate, particularly royalties, but also his artistic assets, such as 243 diaries, the unpublished verses of the song “Hallelujah” (Cohen wrote 82 in the first draft) and royalties from other artistic works, such as books and photographs, according to new York.

The current situation has left the children with an annual salary of over $400,000 plus an undisclosed amount in royalties, according to the outlet.

But Adam and Lorca claim, based on the court documents cited, that neither of them have enough say over the singer’s legacy and that the person who does is Robert Kory, who was socially connected to Cohen — and the attorney the late singer chose to work on his estate – slipped in secretly by forging a document and then swapped pages to make himself trustee of the Cohen estate.

Streisand, who has been Adam and Lorca’s attorney for two months, told the New York Post someone has “swapped” the page giving Cohen’s two children control of the Cohen estate via a trust (and choice of trustee), as well as Anjani Thomas, who was romantically linked to Cohen, “with a new page … that is Kory is designated trustee.”

Streisand has been involved in a series of high-profile lawsuits, involving interest groups such as the Los Angeles Clippers, Marlon Brando, North Face founder, Douglas Tompkin, and the Marilyn Monroe estate.

However, another attorney alleges that Cohen secretly asked that Kory be appointed trustee because he feared the two children would not be able to work together well enough to manage the fortune.

Kory has said in his court filings that he did nothing wrong and that he has kept the children updated on his work with Cohen’s fortune, which included the publication of the book “A Ballet of Lepers” and an art exhibition in Canada.

This isn’t Cohen’s first legal and financial drama. In a 2005 lawsuit, he said a manager stole $5 million from his retirement savings. At 73, he went back on tour to get his money back.

Streisand did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Kory from his LinkedIn profile.

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