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Knowledge Center - Wills in UAE

Things to include in a Will in the UAE?

Writing a Will in the UAE is a critical requirement for any non-Muslim either living or having assets in the UAE. 

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You should keep in mind the following things while writing or reviewing a Will prepared by a lawyer for you:

1. Beneficiaries

A beneficiary is a person who will receive your assets after the payment of your debts, liabilities and funeral expenses etc. It is possible for you to give your entire assets to one (1) beneficiary.

In a typical scenario for a married individual, a spouse appoints the surviving spouse as the beneficiary of his/her entire assets in the UAE. If the spouse does not survive, the children are appointed as the alternate beneficiaries. Further alternate beneficiaries are chosen by the testators depending upon their family situations and likely survivors such as grand-children, parents and siblings.

For unmarried individuals, the beneficiaries are chosen by them based on the personal circumstances.

2. Executors

An executor is a person who will take your Will to the court to have it enforced after your death. Once the court issues a probate order, the executor will pay your debts and distribute the assets as specified in the probate order. 

In a typical scenario for married individuals, a spouse appoints the surviving spouse as the executor. To cover a situation where both spouses pass away together, you should appoint at least two (2) alternate executors who are over 21 years of age at the time of writing your Will. These individuals should be chosen from your closest friends or family members. They can also be the same individuals who may act as alternate guardians of your children (see below).

For unmarried individuals, the executors are chosen by them based on the personal circumstances.

3. Guardians

If you are married with children, you must also appoint your spouse as the guardian of your children below 21 years of age.To cover a situation where both spouses pass away together, you should appoint at least two (2) alternate guardians who are over 21 years of age at the time of writing your Will.  The guardians should be the closest family members such as brothers, sisters or parents. If these guardians are based outside the UAE, you should appoint someone in the UAE as temporary guardians to take care of the minor children until such time the permanent guardians arrive in the UAE to take custody of your children.

Related: DIFC Wills and Notary Public Wills

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