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Argentina football legend Diego Maradona appears to have left behind a challenging financial legacy.
The iconic sportsman, who died last month aged 60, is thought to have fathered at least eight children with six different women and his inheritance is expected to be divided equally among those offspring. However, it seems likely that Maradona never made a will and now lawyers predict a lengthy court case that may well bring with it family disputes, DNA tests and unforeseen paternity claims.
Buenos Aires-based lawyer Elias Kier Joffe told the BBC: “I predict that the inheritance process will be a mess. I suspect it will take some time to sort out.”
And, he added: “The culture of Argentina is not to draft a will. Most people don’t.”
Maradona spent years stating that his only children were daughters Gianinna (31) and Dalma (33), who he had with his ex-wife Claudia Villafañe prior to their divorce in 2003.
However in the past 10 years he also recognised Diego Junior (34) and Jana (24) as his offspring (following court battles with their mothers), as well as Diego Fernando, born in 2013.
Then, in 2019, Maradona’s lawyer said the former footballer had agreed to accept the paternity of three children born in Cuba, where he spent several years in the 2000s.
The BBC reports that at least two other people believe Maradona is their father. Argentines Santiago Lara (19) and Magalí Gil (23) both say they are taking legal action to establish this, which they will need to do to claim a portion of the inheritance. Mr Lara’s lawyer has already asked for the footballer’s body to be exhumed to provide a sample for a DNA test.
Argentine media reports Maradona might leave an inheritance worth between $75m (£55m) and $100m, however once debts are taken into account the sum may be considerably less than that.
In November 2019, for example, he alluded to the inheritance after his daughter, Gianinna, raised the subject of his health. “I tell you all that I’m not going to leave anything behind, I’m going to donate it,” he said.
Under Argentine law, however, a person may only give away one third of their assets in a will, with the rest passed on to their spouse or children. As Maradona does not appear to have left a will, and had no spouse at the time of death, in theory his children would receive an equal share of the entire estate.
Fraser and Fraser remains fully operational and is here to deal with any probate or missing beneficiary queries you may have during this exceptional time. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with business development manager Nick Howitt. We are able to offer all our services remotely and we have secure video conferencing facilities.