Succession Planning in the UAE: Be Proactive, not Reactive

Succession Planning in the UAE: Be Proactive, not Reactive

Wills, Estates and Succession Planning

The World Health Organization, had in 2019 confirmed the major causes of death amongst men and women within the UAE per 100,000 people.

In both men, and women respectively, the number 1 cause of death was attributed to Ischaemic Heart Disease, with men making up 52% of the total, and women making up 20.9% of the total.

The second highest cause of death recorded amongst both men, and women respectively, had been attributed to stroke, with men making up 21.2% of the total, and women making up 18.8% of the total. Other significant numbers were recorded as may be found below:

Cause of death per 100,000 men:

  • Diabetes mellitus – 14.1%
  • Kidney diseases – 13.8%
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – 11.8%
  • Hypertensive heart disease – 11.3
  • Road injury – 10.8
  • Self-harm – 8
  • Lower respiratory infections – 7.8
  • Falls – 7%

Cause of death per 100,000 women:

  • Kidney diseases – 12.4%
  • Breast cancer – 8.8%
  • Diabetes mellitus – 8.5%
  • Lower respiratory infections – 5.8%
  • Hypertensive heart disease – 5.7%
  • Congenital anomalies – 5.1%
  • Road injury – 4.7%
  • Neonatal conditions – 4.6%

Many people who pass away in the UAE are not aware of the importance of concluding a valid will, and to date James Berry and Associates have been, (and are still) in the process of concluding numerous matters in the local courts, as a result. There are 2 modes of Wills registration universally accepted within the UAE, namely:

  • Wills registered through the DIFC Wills Service Centre (Dubai International Financial Centre;) and
  • Wills registered through the ADJD Wills (Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.)

Effective estate planning entails having the relevant foresight to plan for one’s eventual death. Should a will already exist, it’s also recommended to have the will reviewed when necessary. This may be the case if one acquires, or relinquishes an asset, or wishes to change one’s nominated beneficiaries, executors/executrixes etc.

The only means of avoiding the UAE law of inheritance from occurring in the first place, is to legally register a will. In other words, should one die without a will in the UAE, Sharia Law procedures shall apply. Although the lines of division of the estate will differ between Non-Muslim individuals and Muslim individuals respectively, (as had been discussed in a previous article) the process remains unchanged, and is both costly, and time-consuming.

While the UAE aims to support expats residing in the UAE during probate, it is still advised to conclude a legally valid will in the UAE.

This article is an overview of the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. For specific advice in relation to the above, please contact Romano Xavier Dolbey of the Wills and Inheritance Department