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Secure Your Assets and Legacy Through Will

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


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 By Khushi Saxena


It is imperative for an emigrant or an investor located overseas who has property and possession in the United Arab Emirates to have a strategic approach to protect their assets for a lifetime. After the recent changes that were announced with respect to the Wills, it is important to understand the advantages and necessity of Wills.



By nominating permanent and temporary guardians, it helps the expatriate to secure the guardianship of their children. UAE Law applies to real estate owned by expatriates in the UAE and is an exemption to the rules of the home country that apply to inheritance problems. In contrast to Sharia Law, the emigrant has full authority over their assets and who they give them to. Freedom to distribute the assets as per the wish of the person is upheld in the new laws.

From a practical standpoint, having a legal Will in the UAE allows the UAE courts to easily deal with the distribution of assets, bank accounts, and other property after a person's death because there is documentation of the person's intentions.

Through a DIFC Will and/or a DIFC Foundation, the Dubai International Financial Centre offers outstanding wealth protection solutions for securing assets and property in the UAE. This would help in avoid family disputes and costly court battles.



About 80% of the population of the United Arab Emirates is constituted by expatriates that mostly reside in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The introduction of the DIFC Courts Wills Service allows non-Muslims who invest or live in the UAE to pass on their assets and/or appoint guardians for their children according to their Will's instructions. The DIFC Courts Wills Service Centre also allows non-Muslim expats to prepare Wills under English and Welsh law, giving them the freedom to pass their possessions as they deem fit.

A person is eligible for the will, given that an expatriate is over 21 years old, is not a Muslim and has assets in UAE even if they do not reside in the United Arab Emirates. Not only this helps in registering for the will but it also permits the transferring the assets as deemed fit by the person through an easier and effective procedure.Out of many, the most integral point of registering a will via the DIFC Courts Wills Service Centre is their speed and efficiency enabled by their user friendly virtual DIFC registration system.

Even a non-UAE resident or an overseas investor can make a DIFC Will by giving their lawyer in the UAE instructions.  The lawyer can be provided with the specifics like the selected executors/trustees, guardians for the children, beneficiaries, and how the assets should be dispersed.

DIFC Wills can be registered virtually, even via a video conference. During the video conference, standard protocols should be followed, and electronic signatures will be taken. After that, the person will be able to download the signed DIFC Will. The alternative option is to seek a signed DIFC Will with a password-protected electronic copy from the DIFC Courts Wills Service Centre. It's an easy and convenient approach for everyone.



DIFC Foundations are legal entities that can hold assets and money for the benefit of their beneficiaries. Since UAE is a civil law country, the option of establishing DIFC Foundations is gaining popularity in the recent past. They are able to own property in Dubai, which is one of the most appealing characteristics. The DIFC and the Dubai Land Department have a Memorandum of Understanding in place that allows organisations like the DIFC Foundation to purchase real estate registered with the Dubai Land Department. A DIFC Foundation can help international investors (non-residents) and UAE residents arrange their assets.

The advantages of DIFC foundations include no corporation tax, solid governance structure, privacy and confidentiality, private wealth management and asset preservation, succession and legacy planning, creditor and divorce protection, mitigates forced heirship rights, charitable and non-charitable purpose and low set-up costs among several others.


The DIFC, which is ranked among the world's top financial centres, provides an ideal wealth structuring solution for both Muslim and non-Muslim families and individuals. In reality, the DIFC Foundations Law is widely regarded as one of the world's best foundation regimes. A DIFC Foundation is the most inventive way ahead to govern assets, whether it is set up to maintain a private banking portfolio, family company, real estate, or assets like as artwork, or for a charity cause. As an expatriate residing in the UAE or as an overseas investor, having a DIFC Will or establishing a DIFC Foundation ensures that one's money is secured for future generations.

(Writer is a Legal Research Intern at The Law Reporters)

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