Estate planning can be a complex and daunting task, especially in a multicultural and dynamic city like Dubai. Fortunately, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has introduced a legal framework that simplifies this process for residents and non-Muslims. In this comprehensive guide, we will demystify DIFC Wills, helping you understand the key aspects of estate planning in Dubai.
Understanding the basics:
DIFC Wills are legal documents that allow non-Muslims and residents of Dubai to specify how their assets should be distributed upon their death. This is crucial, as Dubai follows Sharia law by default, which can result in assets being distributed according to Islamic inheritance principles if a valid will is not in place.
Eligibility and jurisdiction:
To create a DIFC Will, you must be a non-Muslim and either a resident of Dubai or have assets located within the DIFC jurisdiction. This makes it accessible to a wide range of individuals, including expatriates and investors.
Types of DIFC Wills:
DIFC offers two types of wills: a Full Will and a Guardianship Will. A Full Will covers the distribution of your assets, while a Guardianship Will allows you to appoint legal guardians for your children. You can create one or both of these wills, depending on your needs.
Drafting your Will:
To create a DIFC Will, you need to engage a registered DIFC Wills Service Provider. They will guide you through the process, ensuring your will complies with DIFC regulations and reflects your wishes accurately.
Choosing your beneficiaries:
One of the most crucial decisions in estate planning is choosing your beneficiaries. You can specify how your assets should be distributed among your loved ones, friends, or even charitable organizations. DIFC Wills offer flexibility in this regard, allowing you to tailor your instructions.
Intestacy occurs when a person dies without a valid will. In Dubai, this means that assets may be distributed according to Islamic inheritance laws, which may not align with your wishes. DIFC Wills prevent intestacy, ensuring your assets are distributed as you intend.
Updating your Will:
Life is dynamic, and circumstances change. It’s essential to review and update your DIFC Will regularly. Changes in family structure, financial status, or asset ownership may require adjustments to your estate plan.