A Will is a legal document that explains what you want done with your assets, after your death. These assets typically include real estate, money, investments, jewelry, vehicles and personal or household belongings that you own, and they can be bequeathed to individuals, families or institutions, either in part or as a whole. Apart from dictating who should inherit your assets, a Will can also be used to specify other wishes such as long-term guardians for your children, contributions to charitable causes, and specifying funeral arrangements.
Wills for UAE Assets
For those that have assets in the UAE there is a simple reason to make a will. The Government of Dubai official website states that ‘The UAE courts will adhere to Sharia law in any situation where there is no will in place’.
This means if you die without a will or planning your estate, the local courts will examine your estate and distribute it according to Sharia law. While this may sound fine, its implications may not be so. All personal assets of the deceased, including bank accounts, will be seized until liabilities have been discharged. A wife who has children will qualify for only 1/8th of the estate, and without a will this distribution will be applied automatically. Even shared assets will be frozen until the issue of inheritence is determined by the local courts. Unlike other jurisdictions the UAE does not practice ‘right of survivorship’ (property passing on to surviving joint owner upon death of the other). Furthermore where business owners are concerned be it in the free zone or LLC, in the event of a shareholder or director’s death, local probate laws apply and shares do not pass automatically by survivorship nor can a family member take over in lieu. There are also issues regarding guardianship of bereaved children.
It is prudent to have a will to protect your assets and children and be prepared today for all that may and can happen tomorrow.
As experienced lawyers, we can help you prepare an individual will that is specifically designed, professionally written, and anticipates different scenarios and circumstances. Once the process is complete and your will is valid, you will have the assurance and the advantage of knowing that your assets will be handled exactly as per your wishes. More significantly, you can take great comfort in knowing that your children will be looked after by the guardians you specifically choose for them.
Wills for Business Owners
We understand that business owners have special needs and critical questions when tackling the future, including inheritance, succession, transfer of assets, and the interests of business partners and multiple beneficiaries. It is also likely that a significant portion of private wealth is tied up in the family business. Another important fact to consider in the UAE is that company shares do not pass automatically by survivorship and have to be probated in the case of a shareholder’s death – often resulting in lengthy processes that affect the performance and profitability of the company. We can help prepare wills that address all key issues pertaining to business ownership.
Wills for UK Citizens
One of our strong suits is preparing Wills that are exclusive to British Citizens – taking into account particulars such as domicile, movable and immovable property and advising on the law of intestacy. Our UK wills comply with all the requirements of UK law in complete readiness for admission to probate.