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DIFC Foundation

Our expert private client lawyers are highly experienced at advising expatriates and local clients on wealth protection in the UAE.

In March 2018, the Dubai International Financial Centre (‘DIFC’) Law No.3 of 2018 (‘Foundations Law’) was enacted, introducing the concept of a Foundation (‘Foundation’) to DIFC law.

We are a multi-lingual firm, proficient in Sharia and non-Sharia law.  Our Legal Consultants are registered with the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority/ The Dubai Legal Affairs  Department and are  active members of STEP.  We have a robust knowledge of UK/UAE law and how it applies to expatriates in the UAE.  Having advised clients in wealth protection strategies for over a decade, you can have confidence that our lawyers will listen to your needs and help you create a robust wealth protection plan under a Foundation that fulfils your objectives.

What is a Foundation?

In civil law jurisdictions, foundations are used as wealth and succession planning vehicles.  They differ from trusts in that they are incorporated as specific legal entities which can hold assets in its own name on behalf of beneficiaries.  A Foundation has its own distinct legal personality but unlike a company, it does not have shareholders. Instead, it is self-owned and administered by appointed Council.

What is a Foundation used for?

A Foundation is a vehicle which can consolidate property and assets under one legal entity.  They are commonly used for:

  • private wealth management and preservation
  • succession planning
  • tax planning
  • financial planning
  • asset protection
  • corporate structuring
  • creditor protection

Foundations are also used for charitable purposes.

If a Foundation is set up under the Foundations Law, the laws of the DIFC apply, although there are limited exceptions.  An example is if particular property included in the Foundation is held abroad and the Foundation’s owner, under the law of the country where the property is located, does not have full control over being able to sell it.

Are there different types of Foundations?

A DIFC Foundation is typically formed by a founder who commits certain assets towards a specified charitable or non-charitable purpose.  There are four different types of DIFC foundations, each based on the objectives behind the creation of the entity:

  • objects which are exclusively charitable
  • objects which are not charitable
  • to provide benefits to persons identified in its Charter or By-laws
  • a combination of the above

Each type of Foundation has different governance rules.

Let our lawyers advise you and create a Foundation that reflects your ambitions for wealth protection and preservation.  We will ensure that it is appropriately structured and respects the principles of Sharia law.  This will ensure that no conflict between Sharia Law and the Foundation exist, a factor which could affect the Foundation’s legality.

 To book a consultation to discuss creating a DIFC Foundation, please contact us :

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