A lot of people think that wills are just for the rich. Expatriates in the UAE never considered writing a will as a priority because of the misconception that only those people whose assets amount to millions are entitled to secure their investments. It is high time for non-Muslim expatriates to realise the importance of wills in delegating their hard-earned properties to deserving heirs.
Who should have a will?
Wills are for those who want to organise their assets and investments and have them assigned to their family, friends and relatives in case of death or incapacity. In the UAE, wills are for every single person who qualifies in any of the below-mentioned areas:
. If you have children less than 21 years old
. If you are a business owner or investor
. If you own a property or real estate or any type of substantial asset in the UAE
. If you are a salaried person to cover your gratuity and feath in service/insurance benefits
Like other countries, there is no nomination form system in this country. In this part of the world, a will is the only available document advising the courts how the assets will be distributed and to whom these will go to.
Is a bank account a requirement?
No amount of money is required for a person to plan his assets. An ordinary employee in the UAE also needs to have a will. Even if you have no current balance in your pocket because you are sending all your money back to your home country, a will shall take care of your gratuity which can be a lumpsum amount. A will is a legal doc-ument that will tell the law who is the legal recipient of the money you worked hard for. Otherwise, by de-fault, inheritance law of the country will be applied which might be unfavourable, at times.
What are the other risks?
Without a will, all personal assets or financial investments of the deceased will be frozen until the time that all incurred liabilities are discharged. The law shall automatically grant the wife 1/8th of the estate. Jointly owned businesses and properties will also be frozen until such time that the local courts have determined the distribution of inheritance and succession.In terms of businesses, whether it is an LLC or a free zone company, the local policies apply at the event of death of a shareholder. This means that shares are not divided automatically based on the principles of survivorship even when the existing successor is a family member but to the children’s father.Couples who want their spouse or relatives to be legal guardians to their children should understand the need to make a lawful estate planning, so children below 21 years will be protected and taken care of by any rightful relative based on their discernment.
Who can help in writing a will?
Not everybody can be a good source of advice when it comes to planning your estate. As much as possible, seek for the insights of legal authority who spe-cialise in will writing to provide you with objective and clear implications of your plans. A friend or a relative may not do away with subjective judg-ments while a clerk from any typing centres may give generic templates that will not suit your situation or the nature of your investments.