It may not take New Jersey residents much imagination to believe that Walt Disney left behind a sizable estate. The children of Disney's deceased daughter were left an inheritance. However, one of Disney's grandchildren has yet to receive any of the money set aside for him.
According to the trust, each grandchild was to receive a distribution at ages 35, 40 and 45. However, the children's mother gave the trustees the power to withhold any of those distributions if they felt the beneficiary would be unable to responsibly handle the money. The trustees used this power to deny one of the heirs his first two distributions.
Now, at the age of 43, the man has filed a lawsuit against the trustees. He claims that his sister, who is now deceased, received her first distribution despite supposed unpredictable behavior and addiction issues. He claims that the trustees only authorized the distribution because she agreed to put the money into the trustees' bank. It is alleged the trustees received management fees as a result.
The trustees say that Disney's grandson was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and Down Syndrome. They contend that this and other factors lead them to believe he should not receive a distribution. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge agreed but did order the bank to be taken out of the equation. Sometimes trustees have to make unpopular decisions, and sometimes they are wrong. When a New Jersey beneficiary believes a trustee or trustees have denied him or her all or a portion of his or her inheritance, the matter can be taken to court.
Source: National Post, "Walt Disney's grandchildren at war over $400-million inheritance: report", Michael Lyons, May 22, 2014