Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Brazilian Billionaire's Fight For Inheritance


Maria Angela Aguiar Bellizia was recently added to the Brazilian Billionaires list on FORBES’ World Billionaires this year. Maria Angela is one of the adopted daughters of Amador Aguiar, the founder of Bradesco, which is one of the largest Brazilian banks.

Maria Angela and her sisters fight over one of the largest inheritances in Brazil history started in 1991, after the death of their father Amador, and over a suspicious will he drew up weeks earlier.  The sole beneficiary to the will was his second wife and former secretary, Cleide de Lourdes Campaner Aguiar, who is forty years his junior.  

According to Amador’s doctor, the will was altered when Amador was at the hospital and mentally vulnerable.  After a decade of court battles between Cleide and Amador’s three daughters, the Brazilian court sided with Lina and Lia, awarding them the right to share the inheritance.  Maria Angela was left out of the decision because Amador had apparently dissolved her adoption before his death. 

While that was true, the dissolution was never finalized, since a new law introduced a year before Maria Angela’s birth stipulated that adoptions should be irreversible.  She ultimately prevailed in court. 

Little is known about Maria Angela.  She keeps a low profile and avoids making public appearances.  With an increase in the value of Bradesco’s share price over the last months and an 18% jump in profits to a record $1.53 billion, she is now worth over $1 billion.

See Anderson Antunes, Decades-Long Inheritance Battle Births Another Brazilian Billionaire, Forbes, June 13, 2014. 


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