Looming Maradona inheritance battle highlights importance of leaving a will

Because iconic Argentine footballer Diego Maradona didn’t leave instructions on how he would like his money to be portioned after his death, this could set the scene for an inheritance dispute.

FILE: Former Argentine football player Diego Maradona in 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG – Diego Maradona, the legendary Argentina footballer who died last week after suffering from a heart attack, left no will.

Maradona’s family claimed that he was worth more than R3 billion at the time of his death.

Because he didn’t leave instructions on how he would like his money to be portioned, this could set the scene for an inheritance dispute.

David Thompson, senior legal advisor for Sanlam Trust, said that it was common in South Africa and around the world that people did not leave a will.

“It’s amazing how celebrities who have substantial fortunes, like Prince and further back in the day like Elvis Presley, who don’t get around to drafting a will.”

Thompson noted that people find it overwhelming to get a will, especially if they have had many relationships and divorced a couple of times and have children from various relationships.

“It becomes overwhelming and too complicated. It leaves people vulnerable and in a mess. However, it’s not too complicated putting a will together.”

The legal advisor said that you could either type it out or write it out and then sign it.

“You’d think with people like Maradona there would have been lawyers floating around and financial advisors who would have advised him to put together a will.”

Thomson warned that the law keeps changing, especially in South Africa.

“It’s complex for people, especially people who live together or are married, that’s a changing landscape… People forget that certain assets cannot go to children.”

Meanwhile, Maradona's personal doctor is being investigated for involuntary manslaughter.

Police raided Leopoldo Luque's surgery and home in search of possible evidence pointing to negligence, according to television reports.

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