Update your Will – The Deleterious Effects of Stagnation

Update your Will – The Deleterious Effects of Stagnation

Wills, Estates and Succession Planning

While the enactment of Federal Decree – Law No. (41) Of 2022 On Civil Personal Status inheritance has altered the channels of inheritance for non-Muslim residents, the procedure following a death remains unchanged, unless indicated otherwise by the relevant authority. It therefore remains essential to conclude a legally drafted will, to avoid the laborious processes involved in the absence of a will by the testator.

Once a will has been executed and registered with either the Dubai International Financial Center’s (DIFC) Wills Service Center (WSC) or Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, it’s advised to review one’s will as frequently as possible, and to amend it is little as necessary. In other words, concluding an effective will means that one’s final wishes are set out in a clear, and concise manner, leaving little room for error.

Should the unavoidable occur, for instance, in the event that new legislation is enacted, it is the duty of the testator to seek legal assistance in order to ensure that his/her will is still valid, especially if such legislation may have a direct influence on the outcome of the will itself. Following the enactment of the recent statutory provision indicated, many concerns have been raised as to the validity of previously executed wills, and numerous requests have been received to review such wills. 

Guardianship is aimed at avoiding the general Sharia law principles that automatically come into play should someone pass away without having concluded a valid will. This is apparent in the below scenario, and is one of many examples.

While there exists a rebuttable presumption in some common law jurisdictions, the same may not always apply in the UAE. One such example is the common law principle of the “Nasciturus Fiction/Adage.” This principal states that a child who was born alive and conceived prior to a testator’s death is considered to have obtained rights from the moment it was conceived. In other words, there exists a rebuttable presumption that children conceived during the death of a testator will stand to inherit from the estate of the testator.

It is strongly advised to take the necessary precautionary steps, and to reach out to a legal professional to review one’s will.

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 any of the issues highlighted above, please contact Romano Xavier Dolbey of the Wills and Inheritance Department