The Disney Family’s Real Life Soap Opera
Walt Disney's grandchildren are squabbling over their inheritance. It's a story with more twists and turns than Space Mountain.
November 26, 2013 - 4:00 pm
When Sharon Disney Lund passed away in 1993, her will called for a group of trustees to dole out her children’s inheritance. The battle began in 2009, when Michelle Lund suffered an aneurysm and nearly lost her life. During her recovery, her father Bill tried to move her from California to Arizona, where he lives. The trustees stepped in and sued to block the move. That same year, the trustees blocked Brad’s payments, citing that they have “full discretion to withhold distributions if (the beneficiary) doesn’t demonstrate the maturity and financial ability to manage the funds wisely.”
Michelle and the trustees charge that Brad has a “chronic cognitive disability” and have even suggested that he has Down Syndrome, in spite of no medical diagnosis. Bill – who, incidentally, helped Walt procure the land for Walt Disney World long before he married Sharon – says that, while Brad does have “some learning issues,” he is capable of managing his own money. Bill and Brad make the accusation that Michelle is in fact the one suffering from brain damage as a result of her aneurysm.
According to Bill, the trustees are the ones pulling the strings:
‘It’s their career,’ Bill told NBC. ‘This is tragic. If Walt were here he’d be appalled. He’d be absolutely appalled and so would Sharon at the way the trustees have acted.’
Brad Lund agreed. He believes the trustees are the ones steering the ship, not his sister.
‘She’s being controlled by someone who’s got the remote control,’ he said. ‘Like she’s a robot. We’ve been at this for four years.’
On the other hand, both the twins’ half-sisters (from Bill’s first marriage) and the late Diane Disney Miller have charged that Bill is using Brad for his money. In the meantime, the twins have not spoken to each other since 2009. The case goes to court December 5, and with so many accusations flying in both directions, there’s no telling how much dirty laundry both sides will attempt to air. Stay tuned – we’ll see how this plays out.