Many of us were saddened to hear that the Argentinian soccer star, Diego Armando Maradona, died in November at the age of 60. Arguably the one of the greatest soccer players of all time, after his death, Argentina issued a three-day period of mourning in honor of his passing. Known to live large, Maradona’s estate is estimated to be worth anywhere from $500,000 to $50 million dollars as it’s not known how much he spent in recent years. As we can imagine, a life this full of drama will have just as much excitement, if not more, at death.
Maradona was survived by eight children from six different partners and died without a last will and testament (of course). This is just ripe with all of the ingredients for a huge familial fight. We have (1) a time of high stress (2) a sizeable estate, (3) multiple individuals with conflicting interests, and (4) unclear direction. I’m curious to see how they navigate this mess.
To further the drama, Maradona had publicly stated that he wished to donate his estate and not leave his children anything. Should Maradona have been a Florida resident, under the Florida laws of intestacy (without a will), his next-of-kin (legal spouse and/or children), and not charities, would be his beneficiaries and receive his estate.
This begs the question, could Maradona have drafted a Florida last will and testament and disinherited his children? We know that there are certain rules to protect spouses form each other, but what about these pesky kids, can we drop them like they’re hot? The answer is yes. In Florida, you may disinherit your children in a valid last will and testament.
This is not the case under Argentine law. In Argentina, children are entitled to a mandatory distribution of a decedent’s legacy and they cannot be disinherited, even though a last will and testament. A person may only give a fifth of his assets to someone other than their spouse or children in an Argentine last will.
I’m sure Maradona’s story is far from over in the Argentine Courts, this appears to be just the beginning.