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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 frozen 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 onto a 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.