A Will is a legal document that a person declares his intentions and specifies the method to be applied in the management and distribution of his assets after his death. These assets typically include but not limited to real estate, money, Bank accounts, investments, shares, Jewelry, vehicles and personal or household belongings.
Many Non-Muslim Expatriates in the UAE are unaware that in the absence of a legally registered Will in the UAE, the process of transferring assets after death can be extremely time consuming, costly and fraught with legal complexity. This could mean that assets accumulated during their time in the UAE may not go to their loved ones as they would have intended. If a person passes away without a Will, the UAE Law of Inheritance will be applied on his assets in UAE and will be distributed according to Islamic/Sharia Law principles which may have some surprising and unexpected implications that differ from the intentions of the deceased.
As for Business partners, in the event of a shareholder or director’s death, Sharia law would apply and his/her shares do not pass automatically by survivorship. The ownership of shares may be transferred to extended family members which might affect the operation and profitability of the business. This would apply to both onshore and free-zone companies.
The DIFC Courts Wills Service is a joint initiative of the Government of Dubai and the DIFC Courts that gives non-Muslims investing and living in the UAE the option to pass on their assets and/or appoint guardians for their children, in accordance with the instructions in their Will
The Wills Service provides administrative support to the DIFC Courts Wills Registry for Non-Muslims where the register of DIFC Courts Wills is held and where all probate matters and probate claims are handled.The Wills Service and the Registry together provide a system ensuring that a person’s UAE assets will be distributed in accordance with the terms of their registered Wills. They are governed by Dubai Law No. 15 of 2017 and a set of detailed rules which establishes a system that combines operational speed, efficiency and cost effectiveness with the certainty of judicial enforcement.
Mr. Karthikeyan is highly experienced in drafting wills according to the expatriates’ National laws which will regulate their wishes upon death. He also specializes in providing appropriate solutions and preparing Wills that address all key issues pertaining to business Partnership and ownership. The Wills may be prepared in English and registered with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Wills Service Registry. There is also an option to have it done at the Notary Public of the Dubai Courts.