In the latest Dubai development, a new law is issued to cherish the bond between Non Muslim expatriate & Dubai. It serve clear legal framework for Non Muslims to have “Wills” creation comforting all their wishes upon death.
This will ensure an encouragement among all residents in UAE to manage their hard-earned assets through clear legal procedures along with a confidence to invest freely on to Dubai landscape.
This move been initiated by his highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum (Vice President & Prime Minister of UAE & Ruler of Dubai). Introduced under law 15 of 2017, it is applicable to the wills & assets of non Muslims based in Dubai including Dubai International Financial Center.
WHY WE NEED WILL IN DUBAI?
It is observed with most of the Non Muslim resident in Dubai that they often ignores the significance of having a “will” for two reasons, One being non Muslim they follow a misconception of carrying a “Right to dispose of their asset” & secondly they are not educated enough to understand the significance of having this declaration enforced.
Considering the number of expats living in Dubai with significant assets structure, Investments & Property base, A great need of a platform where they could easily safeguard their loved one’s future & limit the risk of legal disputes upon death by manage their assets & draw up an inheritance plans.
Since so far in UAE, following the death of a Non-Muslim, the distribution upon death of expat is guided by the UAE law & order & on major grounds “Sheri’a law” serves as a primary basis for legislation in succession matters. This is definite reason for one to rate level of uncertainty & fear with distribution of their assets & their legacy upon death, which is why most of individual moving towards guarding their earning & assets through overseas jurisdiction which have its own limitations & complexities.
Legal experts in UAE have been long stressing on giving alarming alerts to the expats to structure up a “Will” as a best practice in forward planning in order to avoid the complication arising from intestate emergencies especially for Non Muslims. This new law reintegrates UAE kindhearted support & contributing in expanding the scope of Non- Muslims to settle their inheritance matters with in the country.
WHAT THIS WILL CONTAIN?
The “Will” appoints an executor which can be a person or any company, who will administer the structure and distribute the belongings as stated by the deceased in the “Will”.Through the mode of this “Will” legal guardianship for minors can also be stated that how one can ensure safe custody of their children to the person whom they trusted the most.
Beneficiaries can be aligned on priority with a crafted instructions on how, whom & when the belongings or an assets are to be distributed. It may also cover various special instructions to your loved ones in line with your concerns & wishes.
WILLS FOR UAE ASSETS
For those who have structured portfolio of assets in the UAE holds valid reason to make a declaration of their assets or to make will. In absence of any declaration on the distribution of assets in UAE, government states that UAE court will adhere to sheri’a law in any such situation. This distribution may have some surprising & unexpected implication against your ultimate wishes for your loved ones.
Another important issue is how shari’a law applies to the guardianship of your children for instance, if the deceased is the father of children then the mother has no automatic entitlement to legal guardianship for her children. Therefore the importance of having a will for your assets & children cannot be overrated. You should be preparing today for all that may can happen tomorrow.
WILLS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS
We understand that Business owners have special needs & critical question when growing & preserving the wealth of their businesses, including inheritance plans, succession matters & transfer of assets & maintaining the interest of business partners & other beneficiaries.
It is also likely that a significant portion of private wealth is tied up in family business. Another fact to be considered in UAE is that company shares do not pass automatically by survivor ship & are subject to probate in case of shareholders death. This often results in complication in operations & profitability in businesses.
Article 17 – WILLS
Our UAE estate “Wills” are drafted to take into account Article 17 of the UAE Civil Code which generally confirms that a non-Muslim expat may create a Will for his UAE estate which would then be distributed in accordance with the laws of the expat’s home country. A Will prepared under Article 17 is considered valid for the purposes of all of the Emirates however some restrictions may apply with regards to any real property located in the UAE. Our Wills department provides Wills for expatriates who are from a majority of countries around the world by using our international network of law firms to advise and assist on the specific inheritance laws applicable in the home country. Therefore, our UAE Asset Wills are compatible both from a UAE Civil Code perspective and also from the perspective of the expatriate’s home country.
LEGAL STRUCTURING/DIFC WILLS
In addition to the above, non-Muslims also have the option of registering a DIFC Will which is applicable to Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah assets only. The Wills and Probate Registry (WPR) is division of the Dispute Resolution Authority of the DIFC and is mandated with processing probate applications and handling probate claims for Wills registered with the WPR.
In addition to other benefits, the key benefits of registering a DIFC Will are that any property including real property can be probated with complete freedom of testamentary disposition (i.e. as per testator’s wishes) which is in line with common law principals. Moreover, a DIFC Will generally remains subject to the DIFC Laws rather than UAE Civil Code or the home country laws of the testator.
Although this freedom of disposition remains subject to challenge by an heir or another interested party, the process remains subject to DIFC Courts which are separate from the local courts and are based on common law principals with English as the official language. Where a testator elects the DIFC “Will” option, upon death, their executor under a DIFC Will would be able to apply to WPR for a grant of probate which is issued by the DIFC Court and is enforceable in onshore Dubai without the need for further action through Dubai Courts.
If you are interested in writing a “Will” with us, Kindly contact us to further understand your circumstances as it enable us to properly draft a valid “Will” for you through our Legal CHANNEL PARTNER
This blog post is written by Ms. Shweta. Feel free to call our Business Adviser today for a quality consultation relating your Business queries. Please send inquiry to info[at]flyingcolour[dot]com or call +971 4 4542366.