The tangled web of Maradona’s Estate

Diego Maradona’s turbulent and colourful private life often hit the headlines during his lifetime and is doing so again following his death.  Dying without a Will, despite his fame and fortune, and with numerous paternity claims and a series of tangled relationships, it is likely that there will be a lengthy and expensive legal battle for his Estate.

However, possibly slightly less extreme versions of this situation are not as uncommon as you might think, especially in Argentina.  The law around inheritance in Argentina operates under the rule of ‘forced heirship’ which means that a person can only choose the destination of a third of their Estate, with the rest automatically passed onto their children or spouse.  As Maradona had no spouse at the time of his death, his children should in theory receive an equal share of his assets.  However, during his lifetime he only legally acknowledged six of his children with at least a further two remaining unrecognised by him and potentially more paternity claims to come.

In the UK, although we tend to be culturally more accepting of the need to make a Will, many of us just don’t get around to it and risk the chaos which can be caused by dying without a Will.  This was clearly demonstrated by research conducted in 2018 by Royal London Insurance Company which found that 54% of UK adults do not have a Will.

So, what happens if you die without a Will?
In this county, dying without a Will, or ‘intestate’ to use the correct terminology, means that married or civil partners initially inherit a fixed proportion of the Estate, only if they are actually married or in the civil partnership at the time of death.  The spouse or civil partner receives the first £270k or the Estate and then half of any remaining amount.  The other half would pass to the children / grandchildren if there are any, or other relations in order of entitlement, as dictated by the Rules of Intestacy.  This does not make any provision for step-children or children of a co-habiting partner. Co-habiting partners also have no legal claim on the Estate.

It is worth noting that if you are separated, but are still married or in a civil partnership, your spouse may inherit even though you no longer live together. This means that your children may not inherit any of your Estate if you die intestate. If no descendants can be traced, your Estate will automatically pass to the Crown.

Many people take the view that the Rules of Intestacy would facilitate your Estate ‘ending up with the right people anyway’, without preparing a Will. However, there are many incorrect assumptions about the Rules, and if you have people you wish to benefit, why not make this certain by preparing a Will. Dying without a Will can result in untold and unnecessary heartache for those left trying to sort things out.

Get in touch
If you would like to discuss making a Will, our team would be delighted to hear from you.  You can reach us on 01872 241408 or by emailing