Dubai: Indian expatriate’s AED 1 million frozen after wife's death

Daijiworld Media Network - Dubai (SHP) 

Dubai, Jul 10: An expatriate living in Dubai had a difficult time, after his AED 1 million, which he saved in various UAE bank accounts was frozen. 

Narendra Gajria held joint accounts with his wife Heena, who under unfortunate circumstances passed away. As part of procedure of issuing succession certificate to the legal heirs, Dubai courts blocked the several joint accounts on a temporary basis. 

Gajria faced difficulties to pay for groceries and other basic necessities. On realising the issue, Gajria approached one of the banks he was dealing with. On further understanding the situation, Gajria opened an account solely in his name, and deposited whatever amount he had and submitted the new account details to his office. Gajria's office then credited salary in the new account he created, through which he was able to withdraw and fend for himself. 

Narendra Gajria with wife

It took five months for the money to be transferred back to Gajria. He told media, "My wife and I did not make a will in UAE. There was a will in India, but that was not valid here as it did not cover money and investments in UAE. Dubai Courts finally transferred my money five months later and it was distributed to my children and me on the basis of Sharia law. My son received 50 per cent, daughter 25 per cent and I received 25 per cent. This was not an issue for me as at the end of the day, it all came back to the family," 

"Back home in India, it is common for a couple to have joint bank accounts. The terms are usually either or a survivor. I assumed this would be the scenario here in UAE as well. The whole reason, I maintained a joint account with my wife was to secure our future. So what transpired after her death was a revelation to me," Gajria added. 

Gajria explained that when somebody dies, the successors have to go to Dubai courts for applying succession certificate. Once all the forms pertaining to this are submitted, the bank accounts get frozen. The funds are then transferred from the bank to the court and once the procedure is completed, the amount is distributed according to the will maintained and since Gajria had no will in UAE, Sharia Law came into picture. 

Ali Haddad, head of Haddad and Associates and chairman at Lawyer Business Group advised everyone in UAE to maintain separate accounts, which would help maintain privacy and security. This will in return safeguard the successors from facing setbacks in the event of any accidental death that takes place with one of the account holders. 

Mohammad Marria, managing director of Just Wills said, “People assume freezing accounts following the death of an account holder is a Sharia Law principle. Actually it is not so. Countries like Canada, South Africa, Italy and others also block accounts when an account holder dies.”


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Comment on this article

  • Rita, Germany

    Thu, Jul 11 2019

    One learns everyday new.This is new for me.For us here accont is frozen if any doubts arise after death of partner and if a high amount is in account gives doubt ,or sudden changes of policy just before death etc.otherwise ..But how come the son gets half and daughter gets 25% and he too?strange laws.

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  • Shan, Udupi

    Thu, Jul 11 2019

    As per UAE rules even joint account the money will not go to the surviving account holder. Now the court will decide and it will pay the funds to surving account holder, and deceased account holders mother,children's, brothers and sisters.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Thu, Jul 11 2019

    Narendra Gajria is from North India ...

    DisAgree [18] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Santan Mascarenhas, Kinnigoli/Mumbai

    Thu, Jul 11 2019

    In India, for procedural purpose, the survivor in case of joint account or the nominee in case of single account, the banks transfers the money to the concerned. But, legally, such money does not belong to the survivor or nominee. These people are just holding the money in their account as a trustee for the dependents, if the person dies intestate (without will). If the person, does not give the money, the dependents can go to the court. In the case, if both partners in joint account die or no nominee in single account, in India also survivorship certificate has to be obtained thru court. The end purpose is same in India and UAE except the procedures.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

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