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UAE Will

A will is one of the most important documents you will ever create in your life. Having worked hard for years, accumulating assets, you would want to give your loved ones control of these things and a better life when you are gone.

reduces financial burden and stress

Wills for UAE Assets

A will helps to accomplish this. If you haven’t thought of writing your will, then it is advisable that you start considering speaking to a lawyer about drafting one sooner than later.

What Are Wills?

A will determines how assets will be distributed in the death of the owner, as this reduces financial burden and stress on the family. You must ensure that your will is valid or else it will have no effect,  and you would be considered to have died interstate. A will is only one part of the whole real estate planning process.

Decide what property to include in your will. Decide who will inherit your property. Choose an executor to handle your estate. Choose a guardian for your children.

Why Do I Need a Will?

The final part of your estate planning is your will, and there are three reasons why you must have a complete and up to date will be drafted.

Firstly, your will is the instrument that tells others how you would like your assets to be distributed in death. If a will doesn’t exist, your assets are distributed according to a statutory formula, rather than according to your express wishes. To guarantee that the people or institutions you have in mind receive the assets you have divided for them, you’ll need the help of a solicitor so that your real estate is structured easily just the way you want.

It is important to have a will so that the people close to you can understand just how you want your wishes carried out. With a will, you give clear directions about asset distribution, reducing the stress and confusion at a time that is already too difficult.

Lastly, a valid will ensures the financial burden on your family is greatly reduced. However, if there is no valid will at death, intestacy laws will apply. What this means is that assets will be distributed according to the statutory formula, as mentioned above. For your family, it can be complex preparing the documents and satisfying the legal requirements for administering intestate estate compared to that of a valid will, which further increases the financial cost and burden on your family.

The UAE courts will adhere to Sharia law

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.

What happens when there is no will after death?

If a person dies without creating a will, they become known as intestate, and their estate will be settled by the laws of the state that outlines what inheritance goes to whom. There is a legal process of transferring property for a deceased to the rightful heirs, called probate.

Since no executioner has been named, an administrator is appointed by a judge to serve in that capacity. If a will has been deemed to be invalid, an administrator must be named. For wills to be legally valid, they must meet certain standards. However, requirements vary from state to state.

An administrator will often be a stranger, and whoever he or she may be, they will be bound by the probate laws of your state. Therefore, an administrator may make decisions that won’t necessarily be to your wishes or the wish of your heirs. 

Should I Have a Joint Will With My Spouse Or We Have Our Separate Wills?

Most estate planners don’t advise joint wills, and in some states, they are not even recognized. The odds are you, your spouse will not die at the same time, and there are likely to be properties that are not jointly held. So a separate will makes sense, even though your will and that of your spouse might end up looking very similar.

In particular, separate wills allows for each spouse to address issues like ex-spouses and children from previous relationships. This is the same for a property that was obtained from a previous marriage. You have to be clear about who gets what. However, probate laws mostly favor the current spouse.

What is a beneficiary?

The beneficiaries in a will are those named individuals or charities who will inherit the asset or estate of the deceased. The will identifies and defines who the intended beneficiaries are and what inheritance they are to receive.

A beneficiary must be aware that they have been named as a beneficiary in a will, as well as the full inheritance designated to them. However, the beneficiary can only receive, appraise, or view their inheritance after the executor has successfully applied for probate and ownership of assets transferred to the beneficiary.

Who is an Executor (Executrix)?

An executor is someone who handles all the administrative duties and tasks in ensuring the wishes of the testator are followed in accordance with the will. This person sorts out the property in the death of the testator, pays any inheritance tax due, and applies for probate. There can be up to four executors in your will, and they can also be beneficiaries of the will.

It is vital that you appoint someone trustworthy as an executor as they are the ones to follow the instructions as detailed in the will. Once you’ve decided on an executor, you will record their full name and address in your will. The executor should be located and contacted when they are needed to fulfill their duties.

How Often Does a Will Need To Be Updated?

It’s likely that you will never have to update your will, or you may choose to update on a regular basis. This decision is entirely up to you. However, remember, the only version of your will that matters is the most current valid one in existence at the time of death.

With that in mind, you may wish to revisit your will at times when major life changes happen. These include pivotal moments like divorce, the birth of a child, in the death of a beneficiary or executor, a significant purchase or inheritance, and so on. Also, as your kids become adults, it wouldn’t make any sense to have guardians named in the will, although guardians can be named for disabled dependents.

Who Has The Right To Contest My Will?

Contesting a will means to challenge the legal or all or parts of the document. A beneficiary who feels slighted by the terms of the will might choose to contest it. This is the same for a spouse, or ex-spouse, or child who believes the stated wishes go against local probate laws.

A will can be contested for different reasons:

  • If it wasn’t properly witnessed.
  • If you weren’t competent when signing it.
  • Or signed due to coercion or fraud.

The judge is the one who will settle the dispute. The key to successfully contesting a will is when there are legitimize legal faults found in it. The best defense, however, is a clearly drafted and validly executed will.

Protect your loved ones with a legally binding will.

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