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Importance of having a “Will” in the UAE

A question or concern that arises to every person who owns a property or an asset, whether tangible or intangible relates to the matter of succession. In other words, one has to think, to whom such property/s will devolve or succeed at their demise. This is where a ‘will’ comes into play.

A ‘Will’ or testament is a legal document by which a person, the testator (the person making the will), expresses their wishes as to how their property is to be distributed at the time of their death, and it give authority to the executor, to manage the estate until its final distribution. The person who makes the Will is called as the “testator”, and the person to whom it is made the “executor”, and the person to whose benefit the ‘Will’ is made is called as the “beneficiary”.

Law Relating to Wills in the UAE

As we are aware, the Shares belonging to a person in a company may be covered in the instruments of a company such as the Memorandum of Association or other binding agreements. Whereas, In the absence of an explicit agreement or covenant, as per the UAE Laws (Sharia), at the event of the demise of a shareholder, the shares are passed on to their heirs.

The UAE Law of Inheritance would be applied in the case of lack of a Will, and it could affect the rights and guardianship of the deceased’s children if they are minors. Therefore, it is always better to have a Will to avoid any future inconveniences.

In the case of Muslims, the Inheritance is governed by the principles of Sharia, whereas in the case of non-Muslims, the law of deceased’s nation would apply by virtue of Article 17 of Federal Law Number 5 of 1985 (UAE Civil Code).

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