Walt Disney’s youngest daughter died in 1993 survived by her 3 children. She left her fortune in trust for them with a provision that they would receive their inheritance in $20+ million installments at the ages of 35, 40, and 45 if they showed “maturity and the financial ability” to manage the money. Her son, Brad,is embroiled in litigation with the trustees over their refusal to give him his installment on his 40th birthday even though they gave installments to his older sister who was allegedly addicted to heroin and died a year after receiving her first installment and to his twin sister who had suffered a brain aneurysm and never held a job. Brad does receive $1 million annually but his step-mother allegedly wants him to receive the large distribution so the funds will be available to her children. The attorney who drafted the trust said the provision about maturity was his mother’s way to never give Brad control of the funds but to still treat him the same as her daughters.
1. When children have different needs and abilities, parents should treat them differently in their trusts to protect the children.
2. The trust should have had a no substance abuse clause which would have allowed the trustees to pay for treatment for the oldest daughter and not give her funds to pay for a lifestyle that led to her death.
3. Any similarity between the step-mother and Maleficent is purely coincidental.