A Will for Business Owners now available

Posted By Emma Cronin   -   Posted On October 03, 2018

On 2nd September 2018, the DIFC Wills Service Centre launched a ‘Business Owners Will’ officially adding another Will category to those available for non-Muslims expatriates that are resident, or hold assets, in Dubai or Ras al Khaimah. This Will allows business owners and shareholders to decide and name in a Will who will own and run their business following their demise.

Personal status laws in the UAE, and therefore matters of succession, are dealt with per Sharia and thus, without a registered Will at the DIFC Wills & Probate Registry (WPR), the shares of the deceased could be distributed to family members contrary to their intention. Sharia inheritance rules are very different to Common Law principles and hence the best interests of the business and the wishes of the owner may not be considered in distribution of the estate. In addition, the administration process can be lengthy and difficult for the surviving family members.

Therefore, registering a Business Owners Will presents a favourable alternative for non-Muslim business owners who may now devise a succession plan that will enable the business operations to continue running smoothly, without potential issues or disputes.

This type of Will is only available for non-Muslims who are over the age of 21 years and have shares in a company registered in Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah. This Will is limited to five separate shareholdings and the DIFC Wills Service Centre charges AED 5,000.00 to register a single Will, exclusive of VAT.

Sean Hird, Director of the DIFC Wills Service Centre, said: "We have moved quickly to provide this new service in advance of the forthcoming legislation. We expect the new laws will bring significant growth in foreign ownership of companies in the UAE and in light of that, have developed a simple online Will template which offers operational continuity."

The forthcoming legislation he refers to is the announcement made by UAE Cabinet earlier this year in May, to allow 100% ownership of any UAE company by non-Emiratis. At the moment, only free zone companies allow 100% ownership, mainland or onshore companies require 51% ownership by a UAE National or authorized agent.

To learn more about registering a Will or protecting your interests, please contact us and we can guide you through the process.

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