“As you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are”
Walt Disney is likely rolling in his grave to learn that his twin grandchildren are embarking on protracted litigation this week in a courtroom only 20 miles from Disneyland itself.
Walt’s twin grandchildren, Brad and Michelle Lund, 43, have not seen each other in the last four years due to the vitriol involved in the litigation.
Their mother Sharon, was the daughter of Walt Disney and she died in 1993, leaving trust funds totalling $300 million, to be distributed to her two children on their 35th, 40th and 45th birthdays.
At each of those milestones they were to be given a 20% slice of whatever was in their trust.
The problem arose due to the another term in her will, whereby the three trustees were instructed to withhold payment if either of the children had not “demonstrated the maturity and financial ability to manage and utilize such funds in a prudent and reasonable manner”.
After Brad was told that he did not meet these standards, while his twin Michelle did, she received her payments and Brad did not receive his.
Brad is backed in the court case by the twins natural father. Ahe schism had been made worse due to the fact that Michelle suffered a brain aneurysm in 2009, and the trustees refused to allow her to be moved by her father from California to a rehabilitation center in Arizona. After Michelle’s recovery, she seems to have sided with the trustees in the ongoing dispute with Brad and her father.
Brad commenced a petition in California Supreme Court accusing the three trustees of a breach of trust, and demanding payment of his birth a lump sums, the removal of the trustees, and punitive damages against them.
Brad maintains that his lawsuit is not against his sister Michelle, but instead is against the trustees, but it is difficult to separate the two.
Further complicating the family squabble it is Brad’s assertion that the twins half- sister Victoria died, leaving no children, but received her 35th birthday distribution even though she was abusing drugs and alcohol.
So ultimately one of the world’s most well-known and beloved men, who built “The Happiest Place On Earth”, only to see the grandchildren litigate it away.