When living out here in Dubai and the UAE as an expat, it’s important to not only understand the laws and regulations that apply to you, but to also respect them.
When it comes to your assets here in Dubai there are a number of ways to put in place safeguarding procedures to protect your assets if the worst should happen to you. The concept of Sharia law is a beautiful one; to share among the family. Where it does work beautifully is when all members of the family understand the laws and regulations that apply and there are not complications within the family. Where it doesn’t work so well is when the above is not the case.
If a husband were to pass away, his assets get shared among the family. The wife inherits all of his debt, if he has any, and obtains around 1/8th of his estate. An amount is shared between the children, a son would obtain double of what a daughter would. If the son is below the age of 18 and the daughter below the age of 21, the majority of the assets fall to the oldest living blood male relative on the paternal side.
Having a will in place in Dubai if you are a non-Muslim expat can remove potential complications and safeguard your assets, giving you a choice on who you wish to inherit. There are two procedures available for expats as options if they wish to obtain a will:
- Lodging a will through the Dubai Court system. If a husband were to pass away here in Dubai, the procedure begins at the courts of first instance where the will shall be highlighted as an appeal against sharia law. It is then taken to the second stages of the court system; the court of appeal. Minimum costs of going through this process are around 75,000 AED. If you do not have assets here that equate to a minimum of 75,000 AED there is no point in going through this process at all. It is important to note that property cannot be included in this type of will. There is not president case for this option. What this means is if there are two very similar situations the outcome would be very similar if not the same. It is important to note that the Dubai court system does not currently have this in place, and the verdict of any situation is highly dependent on how the judge feels on the day, regardless of similarities between circumstances. The costs of going through this process acts as a sliding scale depending on how many assets are included within your will. This could be anything between 4,000AED-6,000AED.
- Lodging a will through the DIFC court system. This is a recent development within the DIFC which allows non-Muslim expats to lodge a will according to their wishes as it does not by-pass sharia law. What this means is that non-Muslim expats can divide assets according to 70%UK law and 30% American law. The process initially is more expensive in comparison to the Dubai court system of 12,000 AED to lodge a single will and 20,000 AED to lodge a mirror will. However, going through this process could be a lot easier for expats as everything is done in English, there is a president case present, and this will allows property to be included if it is specifically located in Dubai.
For more information and to book an appointment with one of our specialists: