Learning From Disney Is Not Just for Kids in Virginia

Walt disneyWalt Disney's work is often seen as containing entertaining lessons for children. However, the ongoing litigation over part of his estate contains a valuable lesson for adults.

Walt Disney passed away in 1966, however problems with his estate plan continue to mount. At issue is a trust he left for his grandchildren. The trust itself is fairly standard in that trust principal was to be distributed to the grandchildren in stages. For one grandchild, everything went according to plan. However, for the other two, problems have arisen.

Investing Daily, in an article entitled Key Estate Planning Mistakes You Need to Avoid, locates the problem with a clause in the trust that states the principal could be withheld if the grandchildren lacked the “maturity and financial ability to manage and utilize such funds in a prudent and responsible manner.” The article points out that this is a standard clause in many trusts. The problem is that disagreements have arisen between the trustees and the grandchildren. The trustees say the grandchildren have learning disabilities and are unable to manage money. In addition, the trustees contend that the grandchildren are overly influenced by a stepfather. However, the grandchildren believe the trustees just do not want to lose their income from managing the trust and that the grandchildren are being punished for refusing to keep any distributed money at one of the trustee's financial firms.

From the outside, it is impossible to know whether the trustees or the grandchildren are in the right. What we can say is that it appears that Walt Disney chose the wrong trustees. It is extremely important to choose a trustee who will be able to cooperate with your trust's beneficiaries. Whenever litigation occurs between trustees and beneficiaries, that may indicate that wrong choice has been made.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: Investing Daily (July 24, 2014) Key Estate Planning Mistakes You Need to Avoid



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Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.