About a year after the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, a dispute in court involving the inheritance of the King of football places on opposite sides the former player’s widow, Márcia Aoki, and José Fornos, known as Pepito, who played for around 50 years as his advisor and businessman.
The dispute involves the legacy left by the eternal number 10 of Santos and the Brazilian team. Fornos, by decision of Pelé himself, is the executor of the estate left by the former player. In June 2023, he asked the São Paulo Court for a percentage of 5% of the value of the inheritance for the role. The value can vary between 1% and 5%, depending on the complexity of each case.
The widow’s defense questions the request, as it understands that Pepito did not adopt any measure that was appropriate to him as executor.
“The role of the executor is, mainly, to act in defense of the will when there is some type of dispute between the benefiting parties. But none of the parties contested the will. Neither Márcia nor Pelé’s children”, says Luiz Kignel, lawyer for the executor. PLKC Advogados, which works in defense of Pelé’s widow.
Kignel adds that Pelé appointed Fornos as his executor, but did not stipulate any amount to which his friend would be entitled as a result. “Pepito didn’t take any action in the will process. He didn’t provide the documentation and didn’t even have a copy of the will”, says Márcia Aoki’s lawyer.
He also says that the 5% request was made by Fornos without any consultation with Pelé’s widow or children, who supported the question made about the requested remuneration. “Respecting Pelé’s decision, Pepito continues as executor, but there is no reason to pay him 5%.”
According to Kignel, the judge in the case, Suzana Pereira da Silva, determined that she will decide on the remuneration to which the executor will be entitled only when the inventory is completed — the process is ongoing and still depends on the collection of all assets left by the King, which is being done by the inventor Edinho, former Santos goalkeeper and son of Pelé.
According to Victor Hadid, from FAS Advogados, who works in José Fornos’ defense, his client did not take the necessary measures because he did not know that he had been appointed by Pelé as his executor.
“The will is private and confidential, there was no way for him to know who was the executor. Pepito only found out [que Pelé o nomeou] after [de algumas semanas após a morte do ex-jogador]”, says Hadid.
Fornos’ lawyer argues that the 5% claim must be accepted by the judge in the case because it is a “very complex inventory, with many rights to be shared, since [o espólio de Pelé] It is one of the most recognized brands in the world.”
Hadid adds that, considering this aspect, “very likely” the remuneration to which Fornos is entitled based on the inheritance will be set at 5%, but points out that the decision does not yet have a deadline to be known.
The process is being carried out in secret at the 2nd Family and Succession Court of the District of Santos.
Three-time world champion with the Brazilian team, Pelé died on December 29, 2022, at the age of 82, due to multiple organ failure resulting from colon cancer.
He had seven children: Edinho, Kely Cristina and Jennifer, from his marriage to Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi. From the relationship with gospel singer Assíria Lemos, twins Joshua and Celeste were born.
Pelé also had two daughters out of wedlock: Sandra Regina Machado, recognized only in court and who died in 2006 due to breast cancer, and Flavia Cristina, also admitted as a daughter by the former player only when she was an adult, but without a legal battle .