United Arab Emirates is undergoing various natural and artificial developments and growing rapidly. In the past decade, all 7 emirates have claimed to have something amazing, from Burj Khalifa (Dubai) to Sheikh Zayed Mosque (Abu Dhabi), the UAE is in the aggressive growth cycle. That is why the UAE welcomes thousands of businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs and job seekers from all over the world to live, grow and invest.
While enjoying a tax-free income and a luxurious lifestyle in the UAE, most expatriates forget that the United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country after all. As liberal as this country is, the expatriates adapt the westernized culture, being an Islamic state, the emirates strictly follow sharia law.
Unfortunately, death is a bitter truth in life and the question is, in what circumstances will you leave your family as you face your last day?
What happens if you die without a will in the UAE?
1. Sharia law applies regardless of your religion
2. Custody of children may go to a friend of the family instead of the wife
3. Immediate bank accounts are frozen
4. Dependent visas will be canceled
5. Benefits of insurance policies can be passed on to your estate instead of wife and children
6. Ex-partners (male/female) can claim your hard-earned money
7. Children, wife may not get anything
8. The Tax and Customs Administration may ask for 40% of your money
9. Family fights because no one knows what they’re getting
Sharia law is quite complex and confusing, which is why drafting a will requires a professional with a special clause integrated into the document that addresses your specific wishes. A will is basically a document that states how your estate will be divided after your death. You may already have a will in your home country, but that will is not going to work in the UAE because the rules and regulations are different here. An expatriate is expected to have a separate will drawn up by the legal authorities to have his/her wishes dealt with by the judge of DIFC or the court of Dubai.
Drafting a will in the UAE is just a puzzle piece. There are some other aspects to consider in order to get around the strict division of estate laws.
1. Have an offshore bank account
2. Take out a life insurance policy and mention it in the will, addressed to the beneficiary
3. Arrange a separate visa for your partner
4. List your assists & liabilities
5. Last but not least, STOP HIDING
There have been so many cases where the husband dies and when the wife goes to court to claim the property, she has little or no knowledge of what her husband owns. Millions of dollars are currently unclaimed in Dubai’s banks. So instead of hiding, tell your spouse about your assets, bank accounts, insurance policies and money placement, but above all, list all your monetary assets, movable and immovable assets in your will with the respective names of beneficiaries. This step not only ensures a safe distribution of your estate, but also prevents arguments within the family because everyone knows who gets what.
Don’t let things get undone, take action before it’s too late. A will is not just a document that protects your property or monetary assets, in fact this simple piece of paper also protects your family when you are gone.