DIFC wills: The solution to succession planning in the UAE

As an expat in the UAE, there are many things to adapt to: different customs, religion, work practices, climate and lifestyle to name just a few. However, succession planning is one thing that often gets overlooked.

Making a will is something that many people avoid or put off but understanding how wills are written and implemented in the UAE is important for all expats, particularly for those who have a family in the country and assets both abroad and domestically.

Having the peace of mind that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes and that your family will be protected is incredibly important when living in a new country, and now, with changes in legislation which offer much more flexibility with inheritance and succession planning, the process of creating a will in the UAE has become markedly easier and more transparent.

Amendments to Personal Status Law and the UAE Civil Code now mean that non-Muslim expats can create a will that more closely matches the laws and practices of their home country.

Whether your needs are simple, such as creating a will to leave your entire estate to your spouse or civil partner, or more complex involving trusts, at Huriya Private we are ready to support you.

We have decades of professional financial services experience and a thorough understanding of the needs of the modern high net worth client or international family.

Why is a Will important?

A will is not only an important means of communicating your wishes and instructions clearly after you pass away and ensuring that your assets are distributed as you intend. Perhaps more importantly, it is also an effective way to reduce unnecessary tax burden for your children and to remove uncertainty around their future by clarifying your wishes concerning their guardianship.

Wills in the UAE

According to UAE law, if a deceased expat has not prepared a will, the UAE courts will need to apply Sharia law with respect to any assets that have been left behind. This can have a number of negative consequences such as frozen bank accounts, cancellation of dependents visas and negative implications for the guardianship of minors.

According to UAE Law, the guardianship of minors always lies with the father and his family, and the mother can only retain custody of her children up to the age of 11 for a son or 13 for a daughter.

By registering a will in DIFC, you can avoid these complications.

Why register a will in DIFC?

By registering a DIFC will and preparing a guardianship declaration, the issue of guardianship can be avoided, and your spouse can be appointed as primary guardian of your children if you pass away.

A DIFC will also allows for the full protection of all types of assets wherever they are held around the world. This can include real estate, shares in companies, bank and brokerage accounts and all possessions. DIFC wills are governed independently by the DIFC courts under a common law framework which means that they are not subject to UAE Federal Law and the testator retains full control of how their assets are distributed.

Business and companies will not be endangered and access to bank accounts will be substantially quicker and easier.

The enforcement of the Will will take place through DIFC Courts which means that it is a valid legal document and will be respected by the UAE authorities with no questions on its legitimacy.

Concluding thoughts

The act of writing a will is arguably one of the most important steps you can take to safeguard your future and that of your family, particularly for UAE expatriate residents.

Creating a will with the DIFC Courts prevents your estate from being governed by Sharia Law and ensures that your assets and the security of your family are managed as per your wishes.

All global assets can be consolidated under one will which can be executed and processed in English, so the guardianship and financial security of your children is assured.

Choosing and arranging a will that meets all of your requirements can be a complicated process with a great deal of uncertainty. By working with a reputable asset and wealth management company like Huriya Private, you can alleviate these concerns.

How can Huriya Private help?

Huriya Private has over 20 years of experience in the domain of corporate structuring. We have unparalleled knowledge of business practices and legal requirements in the UAE as well as an international network of contacts and a deep understanding of the needs of modern-day high net worth clients and international businesses.

We can help you set up a will in the UAE and ensure that your business is fully compliant with all local laws and regulations. If you need help with this or any other immigration, financial or corporate structuring issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us on info@huriyaprivate.com and we will be happy to help.