Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Disney Drama

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The grandchildren of Walt Disney are locked in a vicious estate battle.

Before her death in 1993, Walt’s daughter Sharon set up trust funds for her twins, Michelle and Brad, which is now worth around $400 million.  The legal battle over these funds began in 2009, when Michelle suffered a brain aneurysm.  While she was comatose, her father Bill tried to move her to a hospital in his home state of Arizona.  The trustees filed suit and Michelle agreed with their decision when she recovered.  The trustees have since been paying out the regular multimillion disbursements to Michelle while withholding Brad’s disbursements.  Bill and Brad are now trying to end the trustees control over Brad’s money.

The trustees say they have discretion to withhold distributions if a beneficiary doesn’t demonstrate the maturity to manage the funds.  Michelle and the trustees claim Brad has “chronic cognitive disability.”

The trial over this already contentious matter is set to begin December 5.

See Mike Taibbi & Andrew Blankstein, The Disneys: Not the Happiest Family on Earth, NBC News, Nov. 23, 2013.

Special thanks to Jim Hartnett (Hartnett Law Firm) for bringing this article to my attention.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2013/11/disney-drama.html

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