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Leonard Cohen’s Trust Administration Issues

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February 28, 2023 •  NW Estate Law, LLC
Leonard Cohen had been burned before. So, in the years before his death in 2016, the “Hallelujah” singer and poet worked to secure most of his multi-million dollar estate for the benefit of his heirs — who are now fighting for total control of the Canadian musician’s assets, The Post has learned.

Each time a Leonard Cohen song would come on the radio during my first pregnancy, my son would move around as if he was dancing in my belly.  Now every time a Cohen song comes on the radio, I think of this special connection. His children however, do not have a great affinity for the Trustee of the late singer's trust.

Cohen created a trust prior to his death for the management of his estate. He died on November 7, 2016, after a fall in the middle of the night at his Los Angeles home. The trust controls tens of millions of dollars in royalties for the late singer’s music as well as poetry, novels, photographs and 243 journal notebooks that Cohen had kept since he was a teenager. In fact, the value tops $48 million.

According to court documents reviewed by The New York Post for its recent article entitled “Leonard Cohen’s kids in battle over ‘Hallelujah’ singer’s $48M estate.” his children have been trying to remove the Trustee, attorney Robert Kory for over a year.

The Cohen children say their father “came to appreciate in his waning days that he had made a grave error by allowing Kory to insinuate himself into Leonard’s affairs and take control over virtually every aspect of Leonard’s finances and legacy,” according to court papers. They claim that they have not been kept in the lop by the Trustee of recent efforts to monetize Cohen's estate, including the posthumous publication of a Cohen novel, “A Ballet of Lepers,” published earlier this year, and the opening of “Everybody Knows,” an exhibit at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario.

The children also complain in court papers that the Trustee has employed his son, among others, to archive Cohen’s personal papers. The attorney hired by the Cohen children claim there was forgery committed by the Trustee. “Leonard Cohen’s lawyers and manager forged his trust so they could fleece the estate of millions of dollars and steal the Hall of Famer’s legacy from his own children,” attorney Adam Streisand told The Post.

Streisand, who is a cousin of the singer Barbra Streisand, said there are two versions of the trust document signed by Cohen before his death. In the version that benefits the children, the trust document designates Cohen's children and others as trustees after his death. Streisand told The Post that after Cohen died, a lawyer “swapped out … the page that says Adam, Lorca and Anjani, with a new page … that says Kory is designated trustee.”

Reference: New York Post (Dec. 12, 2022) “Leonard Cohen’s kids in battle over ‘Hallelujah’ singer’s $48M estate”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Probate Court, Inheritance,

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