The UAE is a stronghold for entrepreneurs who wish to invest in the booming economy. Whilst international investors are establishing entities, and making plans for long-term residence, the reality remains that, some are not informed of the importance of having the necessary legal framework in place in furtherance of asset protection. To have a full legal framework in place, means not only the negotiating, and drafting of contracts, but so too the execution of a will. The aim is to prevent a reactive approach, in which case Sharia law inheritance applies.
Arguably, the assets that come to mind when the concept of a will is mentioned are immovable property such as property, followed by movable assets, such as vehicles. Assets may however be tangible, or in certain circumstances intangible.
If a testator lists the shares held in a company within the will, they are still deemed assets even though they are intangible. As such, the same Sharia law principles regulating inheritance will apply if no will is in place referring to said shares. Reference may either be made in a broad sense, or the narrow approach may be followed.
It should further be noted that international assets may be included in a will. Following this fact (and in keeping with the theme,) company shares listed outside of the UAE may be referred to within your will. There is one condition; however, one must own property within the UAE. The legislature does not specify as to the type of property and said property may be either movable or immovable.
It is important to bear in mind that your will reflects your last wishes, which is regarded as the most important document following your death. In a previous article, we had provided a brief overview of the upcoming Statutory changes related to intestate succession and Sharia law for non-Muslim residents of the UAE, to come into effect in February 2023. We strongly urge you to reach out to our department for further assistance in this regard.
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