Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Perelman Legal Dispute Ends In Disappointment


The legal battle involving Samantha Perelman, the daughter of billionaire investor Ronald Perelman, ended Wednesday, when a judge ruled that Ms. Perelman’s uncle did not cut her out of the inheritance by manipulating her dying grandfather. 

The ruling shocked Ms. Perelman’s side, who brought more than twenty witnesses to New Jersey Superior Court during a six-month trial to prove that her uncle, James S. Cohen, had persuaded his father to change his will and transfer assets even as his health deteriorated.

Ms. Perelman is the daughter of Mr. Perelman and Claudia Cohen, a former columnist for the New York Post who died in 2007.  Ms. Perelman claimed her mother’s share of Robert Cohen’s estate would have been worth about $700 million, had the younger Mr. Cohen not exerted “undue influence” over her grandfather.  Because of this, Ms. Perelman said she was wrongfully deprived of her inheritance when her mother passed away. 

Despite Ms. Perelman’s allegations, Mr. Cohen says he was entrusted with his father’s business, and the two men enjoyed a close and caring relationship.  “James Cohen was always respectful and deferential to his father, never tried to dominate him and would not have been able to had he tried.” 

As a result of the judge’s ruling, Ms. Perelman will not be allowed to recoup lawyers’ fees.  However, she is evaluating her options.  The judge also determined that Ms. Perelman’s suit was not without merit, a distinction that bars Mr. Cohen from suing his niece for filing a frivolous case.  

See Rachel Abrams, In Inheritance Battle, Judge Sides Against the Perelmans, The New York Times, June 25, 2014. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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