|Twins Brad and Michelle Lund before the split|
Yet a bitter feud between the brother and sister is growing nastier by the day as they fight it out for a £235million inheritance.
A year from now, on their 45th birthdays, they are due to receive a huge payout from the Magic Kingdom. However, they are questioning each other’s mental competence and entitlement to the money.
As accusations, lawsuits and appeals mount up, it looks like a turbulent 12 months ahead.
Just as the huge Hollywood empire is celebrating smash-hit family movies such as Frozen and Maleficent, the Disney feud is casting a long shadow over the successes.
The twins, whose late mother was Walt Disney’s daughter Sharon Lund, have spent years battling each other in court and are no longer on speaking terms.
Both went to schools for children with learning disabilities, and in adult life have stayed away from the running of the corporate empire.
While awaiting the really big money, they have been living off smaller payments from the Disney estate.
Brad has worked as a table clearer in a restaurant, on the counter of a parcel delivery office and making drinks in a cafe, but now considers himself retired. Michelle has never held a job, but has seen more of the family money so far.
|Walt Disney created the Hollywood empire|
Michelle has had her two large shares so far – despite claims made against her of drug use and concentration problems following a brain aneurysm.
Brad, however, hasn’t yet received either of his payments. Following reports from medical experts who said he had a “chronic cognitive disability”, the trustees ruled that he lacked the mental abilities to oversee so much cash.
As they are due to vote again next year on whether to turn over money to both grandchildren on their 45th birthdays – including the millions Brad has not yet received – the war is well and truly on.
Brad recently lost a court case in which he claimed the trustees were only denying his money to line their own pockets.
He said: “The trustees keep my trust hostage and refuse to hand me over what is legally and rightfully mine.”
A judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Mitchell Beckloff, ruled: “The trustees are legitimately concerned about Mr Lund’s ability to protect himself from those around him who may wish to take financial advantage of him.”
Walt Disney died in 1966, having established a unique entertainment company that has continued to grow. It now boasts an equity value of more than £80billion.
The twins’ mother died from breast cancer 20 years ago. Before her death she set up a trust fund for her children, administered by a group of well-paid trustees.
Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, was a dedicated family man who once said: “A man must never neglect his family for business.
“The important thing is the family, if you can keep the family together. That’s the backbone of our whole business, catering to families.”
Now his own family are fighting over that business...and it is becoming more ugly by the minute.
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Disney heirs' £235m legacy fued gets ugly