Most upsetting to the family is Mr. Basilicati-Cardin’s claim that he is Mr. Cardin’s sole heir. He said that Mr. Cardin’s wishes were detailed in a will dated Nov. 10, 2016, which Mr. Basilicati-Cardin said he discovered last year in Mr. Cardin’s apartment in Paris, just as heirs who are in favor of selling received an offer by French business group to buy the Cardin group for 800 million euros.
Because the will was not found during the original inventory of Mr. Cardin’s estate and, though initialed, was unsigned and never registered with French authorities, the four sisters charge that it is invalid. Mr. Beffy is skeptical, too: “Pierre Cardin always signed documents ‘Pierre Cardin,’ not with initials.”
In March, a judge ruled the will invalid, a decision Mr. Basilicati-Cardin has appealed. The Paris court of appeals will hear arguments on Nov. 2 and is expected to rule by the end of the year.
“There are two possibilities of resolution,” Mr. Rivière said. “The Basilicati-Cardin will is canceled and my clients and their cousins are legitimized as heirs, or it is confirmed and he gets control of everything.”
To complicate matters, Mr. Beffy has another will by Mr. Cardin, from 2013. In it, Mr. Cardin stated that Mr. Beffy would receive the Norman manor, Marie-Christine Cardin-Edwards would get an apartment, and Mr. Beffy and Mr. Basilicati-Cardin would inherit all that is “movable,” meaning furniture, cars, jewelry, artwork and bank accounts. The document was signed and dated, but, Mr. Beffy said, “the notary didn’t register it.”
“I am now waiting to see what happens,” Mr. Beffy said.
And then there is the question of company ownership. At the time of his death, Mr. Cardin held 99.999 percent of the company. The remaining 0.001 percent is held by Mr. Basilicati-Cardin, who said that his great-aunt Giovanna, the mother of the four sisters suing him, signed the share to him a month before she died in 2000, at 97.