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Football hero, Diego Maradona’s complicated financial legacy

Posted by Kings Court Trust | 18-Dec-2020 10:42:36

The Argentine football icon, Diego Maradona, passed away in November after suffering a heart attack at the age of 60. Maradona’s passing has caused speculation about his wealth and complicated financial legacy, as it’s been suspected that he passed away without a Will.

There is no comprehensive account of Maradona’s wealth, but some of his assets have widely been reported to include at least five properties in Argentina, a Rolls Royce Ghost worth $360,000, a BMW i8 worth around $175,000, and a diamond ring worth $360,000. However, it’s been suggested by Celebrity Net Worth, that Maradona’s net worth at the time of death is shockingly low, as a suspected result of a hefty debt owed to the Italian government in unpaid taxes, in addition to any other liabilities occurred.

Elias Kier Joffe, a lawyer based in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, said to the BBC:

“The culture of Argentina is not to draft a Will. Most people don't”.

Argentine law permits a person to only give away a third of their assets in a Will, with the rest passed on to their spouse or children. As it appears Maradona passed away intestate (died without a Will) and wasn’t married at the time of death, his children, in theory, should receive equal shares of the entire estate. Maradona was no stranger to paternity revelations, having fathered at least eight children over decades of relationships with six different women. Argentine legal experts and journalists are expecting this to lead to some messy family disputes, that will result in a long delay to the distribution of inheritance.

Maradona’s complex estate has provoked conversation on various important topics.

Estate planning

Estate planning involves putting together a clear plan that details your wishes regarding how you would like your estate to be managed when you pass away. This involves preparing your finances to ensure assets are protected for your loved ones, providing them with guidance and peace of mind at an already difficult time.

Estate planning includes:

  • Writing a Will and selecting the Executor(s) - who will administer your estate when you pass away
  • A list of assets and any debts, including but not limited to property, bank accounts, foreign shares, and possessions
  • Planning cash gifts to protect against Inheritance Tax (IHT)
  • Making provisions for funeral expenses and outlining any wishes for arrangements to be made accordingly

Estate planning can save a huge amount of money on tax. IHT is normally payable on death at a rate of 40%. However, this only applies if the value of the estate is over the threshold of £325,000 (£650,000 if married or in a civil partnership) which is known as the nil-rate band.

When provisions aren’t made and a plan isn’t in place, families can often face a nasty shock when it comes to the IHT bill. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your assets if you prepare in advance. IHT forms can often be difficult to navigate and require accurate submission, as incorrect forms can result in financial liability to the Executor or Administrator of an estate.


Intestacy and Genealogical research

When someone passes away without a Will, their estate is declared intestate, where the rules of intestacy will apply. Under the rules of intestacy, not all the estate is guaranteed to pass to the surviving spouse or civil partner. This is a common misconception that is still prevalent today.

Family tree verification might be required in circumstances, such as Maradona’s, to ensure only entitled heirs receive their rightful inheritance. This helps to prevent misdistribution, which may lead to future claims against the estate. Several factors can contribute to the rise in complicated family dynamics, including the increased numbers of multiple marriages, blended families and adoptions in and out of families.

In Maradona’s case, in addition to his eight children, it’s speculated that two more individuals are claiming that Maradona is their father, and are currently taking legal action to establish this to receive their rightful share of the inheritance.


Estate administration

Estate administration is the process of dealing with a person’s legal and tax affairs after they’ve died. This normally means dealing with all of the deceased’s assets and liabilities before transferring what’s left to the beneficiaries. Every estate is unique and isn’t always straightforward.

Estate administration can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Applying for the Grant of Probate
  • Closing bank accounts and paying debts
  • Ensuring the family tree information is correct
  • Dealing with shares and investments
  • Redirecting post
  • Selling property and assets
  • Dealing with Inheritance Tax forms
  • Completing Income Tax work
  • Dealing with Capital Gains Tax
  • Contacting all people due to inherit
  • Producing estate accounts

To find out more about each stage of the estate administration process, check out our recently published guide here.

We always advise putting the estate in the hands of experts, preferably someone who will take the legal and financial burden off your shoulders. Due to the complexity of Maradona’s financial legacy, we suspect that his estate will be passed to a specialist, removing the financial burden from his children in the case of future disputes. We will certainly be keeping an eye on the media as this complicated situation unfolds in the coming months.

Kings Court Trust is an award-winning estate administration provider who handles the complicated practicalities after death, so families can focus on life’s important moments. If you have any questions or issues with probate or estate administration, call our experienced Client Services Team at 0300 303 9000.


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Author: Kings Court Trust

Kings Court Trust is an award-winning probate and estate administration provider that support families at the difficult time of losing a loved one. Our tax and legal teams have the expertise to advise on any situation. We are committed to offering families a great service for a fair price which is why we work on a fixed fee basis so they know exactly what our service will cost from the outset.

Topics: Estate Planning, Inheritance Disputes, Celebrity