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Non-Muslim Wills

TWS Legal Consultants is the leading law firm for private client services in the UAE. Our reputation for providing exceptional client service and legal expertise in matters involving Wills, estate planning and administration of estates is second to none.

Our team are focused on collaborating across practice disciplines with a view to exceeding client expectations.  We take the time to find out what your requirements are and work tenaciously towards achieving your objectives.

We are a diverse firm, proficient in Sharia law as well as other jurisdictions. Our team of authorised Wills Draftsmen in Dubai and estate planning lawyers have been advising expatriates and UAE citizens on private client matters for over ten years.  TWS Legal Consultants played a leading role in the DIFC Wills working group involved in formulating and contributing to the DIFC Wills Service Centre Rules and remain active in the working group to date.  We have registered a high volume of DIFC Wills and are experienced in conducting probate cases relating to DIFC Wills with great success.

Our lawyers are registered with the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority and Dubai Legal Affairs Department. As active members of STEP our lawyers have extensive knowledge of UK/UAE wills and estate planning law  and how it applies to expatriates in the UAE.

As a niche firm, we operate a fully digital practice and can arrange meetings by video conference if preferred.

Why non-Muslims living in the UAE need a Will

If you are non-Muslim and have assets in the UAE, it is highly recommended that you have a registered non-Muslim Will( DIFC/ UAE/Abu Dhabi) to dictate the division of your assets.

If you are living in the UAE or have assets in the region and die without a registered non-Muslim Will, the local Courts will distribute your estate and appoint guardians according to Islamic/Sharia law principles.  The decisions made by the Court may significantly differ to how you would have bequeathed your assets.

The consequences of having your estate distributed under Sharia law are as follows:

  • your assets, including bank accounts, will be frozen until liabilities have been discharged and then distributed according to a predetermined formula
  • the predetermined formula provides that the wife of the deceased will automatically receive 1/8th of the estate if she has children (the proportions differ if there are no children)
  • the mother of the children does not automatically become the guardian of the children upon the father’s death

Having advised expatriates and UAE residents for more than a decade, we are best placed to comment on the circumstances that ensue as a result of not having a Will in place. Therefore, we advise that a Will is registered during your lifetime, protecting the interests of your family.

How you can avoid Sharia law applying to the distribution of your estate

To ensure a Will is valid and Sharia law will not apply, non-Muslim expatriates should register their Will with the DIFC Wills Service Centre.  Doing so will avoid lengthy court proceedings and uncertainty for family members left behind.

Furthermore, the DIFC Wills Service Centre collaborates with the Dubai Land Department, the Dubai Economic Department, and other government agencies, ensuring that the distribution of property and assets listed in the Will takes place swiftly and smoothly.

How can I protect my family business in the UAE?

Our Wills and estates team collaborate with our corporate law department to assist clients with preserving their wealth, whether based in the UAE or abroad. We can assist you with the following:

  • inheritance structures
  • succession planning
  • transferring assets
  • protecting the interests of surviving business partners and others

Under UAE law, company shares do not pass automatically to surviving shareholders and are subject to probate if a shareholder were to die. This often results in a lengthy delay, causing significant business disruption and profit loss.  Our business succession specialists and corporate lawyers can discuss a clear strategy for your organisation and draft a Will that realises your objectives and ensures the growth and stability of your business.

To book a consultation with one of our Wills and UAE estate planning specialists, please contact us:

Get in touch today to book your complimentary Wills and Guardianship consultation by clicking here with one of our wills specialists. We are happy to help you.

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