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A Will is a mandatory assignment for financial planning, it forms the legal document to protect the estates and hand it over to the loved ones in case of sudden demise of the signatory of the Will.

Writing a Will enables to distribute assets, shares, or any valuables according to ones own wishes and it gives peace of mind to the signatory.

Creating a Will also provide the legal protection to rightfully distribute the estates, and take care of any minor children at the event of any unforeseen circumstances.

Why is having a Will essential in the UAE?

As an expat living in UAE, there are few legal regulations that will be applicable to assets and estates based in the UAE:

  • UAE follows Shariah Law for distribution of assets. Non-Muslims, however, are given the option to choose to opt out of the application of the Shariah Law for the distribution of their assets in the UAE.If the signatory does not have a Will, Shariah Law is applied by default to the distribution of all the assets in the UAE.
  • In the absence of a Will, the guardianship of children below 21 years of age may be determined by the courts as per the UAE Law.A duly registered Will can ensure the appointment of the wife as the guardian of the minor children.
  • For security and safety of the financial assets, bank accounts, other valubles, having a Will is helpful.
  • The bank accounts, single as well as joint account will be frozen upon the death of an individual. Hence, for the spouse to have control over the bank account the Will comes handy.
  • The dependent’s visas are cancelled and will be given a one-month grace period to stay in the country for the proceedings and then leave to the home country. A Will helps in claiming the rights during such instances.

Difference between WILL & Power of Attorney (POA)

A WILL comes into effect upon the death of testator & after the Court order in Execution proceedings.

Whereas, a POA holder gets the right to act on behalf of the grantor, while grantor is alive. It is always safe for the expats to have a POA & Will registered in UAE.

The types of Wills in the UAE can be broadly classified as:

Wills for Non-Muslims

If Non-Muslims living in UAE at the event of their death do not have a Will, there is a risk that the estates would be subjected to Shariah Law and the assets will be distributed accordingly. It will not be aligned with the wishes of the signatory to distribute his/her assets.

Therefore, having a Will to protects the estates and for appointing guardians for the children (minors) is essential.

There is a variety of DIFC Registered Wills to choose from and also a Standard UAE Will.

Wills for Muslim

As a Muslim in the UAE, the Shariah Law principles will automatically apply to the inheritance and will distribute the UAE estates accordingly.

The signatory can choose a Standard Shariah Compliant Will or the UAE Muslim Will with Letter of Consent.

Guardianship Letters

Guardianship Letters are a private declaration that is intended to serve as an interim document regarding guardianship of minor children.

What are the various options of Wills available in UAE Currently?

Notary Public Will

These Wills are written in English and Arabic and registered with a notary public in Dubai. These wills can cover all the Emirates where the signatory resides or has assets.

DIFC Will

The DIFC law allows non-Muslims to register their Will with the DIFC Wills Service Centre. There are various Wills available under the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry.

Wills registered at DIFC Courts now cover resident and investors assets across the UAE, as well as internationally.

Expatriates can have a WILL registered in their home country for the assets in home country and they can register will here in the UAE for assets in the UAE.

Types of Wills that can be registered at the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry:

  • Full Will – It covers the distribution of one’s assets in UAE and the appointment of guardians of their minor children.
  • Guardianship Will – It covers the appointment of guardians of the registrant’s minor children only.
  • Property Will – It covers up to five real estate properties only.
  • Freezone Company Will – The Will cover up to five shareholdings in Freezone or RAKICC (RAK International Corporate Center) companies only.
  • Financial Assets Will – It covers up to 10 bank and/or brokerage accounts registered at a branch that is situated in UAE.

Abu Dhabi Will

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department allows for the Registration of Will by non-Muslims for their Abu Dhabi assets.

What are the Steps involved in Drafting a Will?

1. Draft a Will

If there is already a Will registered in the home country, have it checked in UAE with a legal specialist.

A wrongly written Will could tie up the assets in the long process of the legal loop. Hence, draft the Will carefully so that it will be seamless for the family to take over the assets.

 

2. Arabic Translation

All documents to be submitted in Dubai Courts need to be translated to Arabic by approved legal translating centers (registered with the Courts and Ministry of Justice).

The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry allows the documentation in English.

 

3. Coverage

There are two prominent Will Registration Authorities in UAE – The Dubai Courts and DIFC Wills and Probate Registry.

Will registered in Dubai Courts can cover assets and estates across UAE. Similarly, DIFC Wills and Probate registry also has a coverage in the whole of UAE.

 

4. Registration

There is a payment to be initiated for Registering a Will at the Dubai Courts and DIFC Wills & Probate Registry.

 

5. Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney (PoA) enables trusted family members to look after the assets during the signatories’ lifetime. It also acts a compliment to the Will. However, the Will have to be still prepared as Power of Attorney is not valid after death.

 

6. Guardianship Will

The Dubai Courts allow adding Guardianship clause to be inserted in the Standard Will. However, a separate Guardianship will be considered as another Will.

 

7. Embassy and Consultant

Notarized and Registered Will at Dubai Courts need not require any submissions to the embassy or consulate. For Wills regarding assets in the home country, contact the respective embassy to know more details on the requirements.

Wills for Business Owners

The company shares do not pass automatically to the shareholder’s immediate family in case of any unforeseen circumstances. It is a long process and legal proceedings to get the estates back. To avoid this writing a Will for business owners is essential.

For Corporates, CEOs and Shareholders the Will comes as a great help during transferring their business assets to the family.

When a shareholder dies, their shares are passed down to their heirs, as per the laws of the UAE which are governed by Sharia, or as per the Will approved by the UAE courts.

However, the distribution of the shares would be covered in the corporate instruments of the company such as the Memorandum of Association(MOA) of the company, or an external agreement. It depends on the company type.

For Limited Liability Companies, the company will continue to operate upon a partner’s death (unless the MOA provides otherwise) and the shared will be passed down to the heirs.

For Sole establishments and Joint Liability Companies, upon the death of a partner, the company will dissolve unless the MOA provides otherwise, or the heirs decide to continue the business

The UAE Expat Will prepared in the UAE helps to hand over assets in UAE to the signatory’s family. The Will prepared in the Home Country will not be of help in UAE when it comes to asset transfer, The Sharia Law will be applicable if there is no Will written in UAE that entitles to transfer the assets to the signatory’s family.

How Aurion will assist you?

Aurion Business Consultants will do all the necessary coordination for the Registration of Will in Dubai.

Our team of experts will analyze the requirements and assist our clients throughout the process of Registration of the Will.

In case of any queries on Registration of Will, feel free to reach out us anytime!