Dubai: Huge Turnout at KEL Event on ‘Importance of Wills for Expats in UAE’

Dubai: Huge Turnout at KEL Event on ‘Importance of Wills for Expats in UAE’

Compiled by Ivan Fernandes, chairman of KE Global
Daijiworld Media Network

Dubai, Jan 16: Kanara Entrepreneurs Ltd (KEL), Dubai conducted a workshop on the topic "Importance of having a Will as an Expatriate in the UAE," at the India Club here on Satuday January 15.

The three-hour session, anchored by Mohammad Marria, senior estate planner from Just Wills (the largest estate planning organization in the UK), proved successful with an overwhelming response to this event.

In his presentation, Marria covered topics on

1. Why is it mandatory for every expat to have a will?
2. What principles of Shariah Law get applied to inheritance?
3. How the estate inheritance in this country can get complicated as it comes under the purview of Shariah Law, UAE / GCC laws, laws of your home country.
4. What precautions an expatriate must take with respect to protecting his assets - from bank accounts to residence visas of spouses to minimize the impact on death of one party.
Marria started by saying that when you die in the UAE, the following things happen irrespective of whether you have a will or not.

1. Your bank accounts whether in your personal name or in joint names, get frozen as per the Shariah Law.
2. As majority of the spouses are sponsored by their husbands, on the death of the husband the residence visas of the wife and children get cancelled as per the Law of the UAE.
3. The Embassy / Consulate of your home country are informed as per International Law.

Now, each of this can have significant impact on the grieving family.

1. If all money was in the accounts which are frozen, then this money is not available to the family until the Shariah court authorizes its release. He said that Shariah Courts take several aspects into consideration before issuing the succession certificate that is required for release of these funds.

i. Ensure that all debts of the deceased are settled from his estate before distribution to his successors.
ii. Ensure that the estate is distributed in accordance with the principles of Sharia. As per Sharia, the wife is entitled to 1/8 of the husbands Estate, each of the parents are entitled to 1/6 of the estate, the sons receive 2 shares while the daughters receive 1 share.

He said that if you are not a Muslim residing in the UAE and have a properly drafted will which clearly states that you are not a Muslim and do not want Shariah Law to be applied for distribution of your estate, the Shariah Court will authorize distribution of your estate as per your will. Hence will is very important for all expatriates especially if you are not a Muslim.

As a precaution, he recommended that you have bank accounts in individual names as UAE does not have the concept of ‘Either or Survivor’ as is available in some other countries like India. Hence, to prevent all accounts getting frozen, it is recommended to have accounts individually for both husband and wife such that when one party dies, the other account is still available. In addition, he suggested having offshore accounts including non-resident accounts in your home country.

He also stressed on the need of having a life insurance policy with clear beneficiary mentioned from Insurance companies that do not come under the purview of Shariah. The reason being that insurance can be paid to the beneficiary within 30 days of death and this can be then used to settle all the debts of the deceased from credit card dues to personal loans and mortgages. This will help the courts to decide faster on implementing your wishes specified in your will.

2. On the issue of residence visa, Marria said that majority of the spouses are in the UAE on dependent visas. So the husband is their sponsor. On the death of the sponsor, all dependent visas are cancelled and they need to leave the country within 30 days. This creates a huge hurdle for the family to come back to the UAE and handle issues related to inheritance. Hence, he recommended that where possible, to have independent visa for the wife such that her status does not get impacted with the death of her husband. He also suggested that those women, who work should look at getting direct employment visas from their company as this will protect them in the worst scenario of losing their husbands while in the UAE.

3. Marria also strongly recommended that both the husband and wife must have a general power of attorney authorizing the other partner to act on the other partner’s behalf just in case an event occurs where he or she is disabled and unable to act. It is important as while the will is only executed on one’s death, the power of attorney will help in executing all matters until death.

Marria stressed that with a will, you still need to go to a Shariah Court and get it executed so that these assets are passed on to the successors. To ensure acceptance of these wills by the Shariah Court, these wills need to be properly drafted, compliant with the local Shariah Law, UAE Law and International Laws (law of your home country). Once it is done, it needs to be attested by the Consulate or Embassy of your home country. The will must then arabised and notarized in UAE. In the absence of notary, the will must be attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that it is valid and accepted by the Shariah Courts.

The session started with the president of KEL Shobha Mendonca welcoming the guests. She said that this workshop is unique and can have a profound impact on all of us in ensuring that our estate is passed on to our successors without much hassles.

Michael D’Souza, Director of Mentoring proposed the vote of thanks. He said that while KEL has given an opportunity to all to understand the importance of having a will, it is now up to us to go ahead and prepare a will such that we die in peace and leave our successors also in peace. Alfred Vaz, Director - Events was the master of ceremony. The program concluded with networking and dinner.

Special Offer: Just Wills has offered a special price for KEL members who want to prepare their wills through them. Those interested, can contact the KEL office on

KE Global is a global, non-profit, mutual-benefit corporation founded by successful entrepreneurs to encourage, support and nurture entrepreneurship in individuals originating from the Kanara region.


Top Stories

Comment on this article

  • richard d souza, mangalore/dubai

    Thu, Jan 20 2011

    I have attended this before and i must say they creat a fear factor and make huge amount of money out of you for this will thing. Actually it does not cost that much and a simple document on a stamp paper in india is good enough even in dubai. Ask many others before you ink any deal with one person.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Richard Pinto, Mangalore/Dubai

    Tue, Jan 18 2011

    Thank you KEL for arranging a workshop on subject Wills. My self and my family gained so much knowledge on making Wills etc. It is making awareness to the public. We would appreciate conducting such seminars to people and educate the people over here. May be in the next seminar someone giving a lecture on Insurance etc. It is good to have knowledge in it and follow the same in our practice life.

    Thank you once again to the organisers.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Charles D'Souza, Dubai

    Mon, Jan 17 2011

    It was an eye opener for those who attended the session. One cannot imagine the complications dealing with the local authorities in the event one of the partners passes away. After attending the session, making a will is a 'must-do' activity (not to be taken for granted) as important as carrying out your health check. Thank you KEL for conducting such a session. I am also given to understand that KEL has managed to get a huge discount for its members with Just Wills

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Percy Noronha, Mangalore / Muscat

    Sun, Jan 16 2011

    Since most of the companies in the Gulf countries prefer transferring their employees' monthly salary to bank accounts, opening a bank account becomes mandatory for salaried people. In such cases it is advised that the money be transferred to home country immediately. Presently all banks in India issues International Debit card (ATM CARD) to its account holder. Which can be kept with them for any emergency if funds required back in their place of work. But a 'will' is necessary to deal with legal matters in case of death. It is advised that such workshops be conducted in other parts of the gulf countries as well.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • ronald masc, bendore/dbx

    Sun, Jan 16 2011

    very informative and needfull subject refrerred in. thanks to kel chairman , president and organisers.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh Sequeira, Cordel, Dubai

    Sun, Jan 16 2011

    A good informative workshop Thanks KEL for keeping such event.Very well organised.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

Leave a Comment

Title : Dubai: Huge Turnout at KEL Event on ‘Importance of Wills for Expats in UAE’


You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.

Security Validation

Enter the characters in the image