In a significant step towards meeting the diverse requirements of its Muslim population, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has introduced the concept of civil will. These wills, governed by Law No. 14 of 2021 Concerning Civil Marriages and Their Effects in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, enable Muslims in the UAE to establish wills exempt from Shariah principles. This groundbreaking move grants individuals the autonomy to structure their inheritance per their personal preferences, all while adhering to the legal framework established by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD).
This article offers crucial insights into Civil Wills for Muslims in the UAE that everyone should be aware of.
Understanding Civil Wills
As per Article 1 of Law No. 14 of 2021, a Civil Will is a document created by an expatriate, regardless of their faith, outlining the distribution of their assets after their passing. This legal instrument empowers individuals to shape their inheritance according to their choices, ensuring their estate is aligned with their desires.
Scope and Availability
The accessibility of civil wills extends beyond residents of Abu Dhabi, encompassing all Muslims residing in the UAE. This inclusive approach guarantees that individuals from across the nation can benefit from this forward-looking legislation. Civil wills are accessible to all Muslims in the UAE, irrespective of their place of residence, provided they are not UAE nationals. This initiative underscores the UAE’s dedication to cultivating a legal environment that honors and accommodates the diverse cultural and religious backgrounds of its inhabitants.
Muslims in the UAE, regardless of their nationality, who are not UAE citizens, have the option to register a will with the Abu Dhabi Civil Wills Office.
The importance of will registration cannot be overstated. A registered will ensures that an individual’s UAE estate will be distributed as per their wishes upon their passing. Conversely, the absence of a registered will can lead to delays in the estate distribution process, potentially causing disputes among family members. By proactively registering a Will, individuals can have peace of mind, knowing that their assets will be managed and divided by their intentions.
In cases where a non-UAE resident passes away without a registered Will, Article 11 (2) of Law No. 14 of 2021 specifies the default method for asset distribution. In such scenarios, the surviving spouse is entitled to half of the inheritance, while the remaining half is equally divided among the children, without regard to gender. If the deceased has no children, the inheritance is shared equally between the parents. If one parent has already passed away, the surviving parent retains their half share, with the other half divided equally among the deceased’s siblings. In the absence of surviving parents, the siblings inherit the estate equally, irrespective of gender.
The registration fee for a will with the ADJD Civil Wills Office is 950 AED. This modest fee is a worthwhile investment considering the peace of mind and clarity it offers concerning asset distribution.
To register a civil will, applicants can utilize the ADJD portal through the U.A.E. Pass, under the Civil Family Court e-Services. The registration process involves applying along with the necessary supporting documents in the “Request to Authenticate a Civil Will” category. The ADJD has streamlined the process to make it easily accessible for individuals wishing to exercise their right to create a civil will.
Advantages of Civil Wills
1. Customized Inheritance Planning: Civil will empower individuals to structure their inheritance according to their wishes and familial circumstances. This flexibility allows for tailored solutions that may better reflect an individual’s preferences and vision for the distribution of their assets. By providing an alternative to Shariah-based inheritance rules, the UAE recognizes the importance of autonomy and personal choice in matters of estate planning.
2. Clarity and Dispute Avoidance: Civil wills offer an unambiguous framework for asset distribution. By explicitly outlining the distribution of assets and designating beneficiaries, potential conflicts and disputes among family members can be minimized. The ability to exercise control over one’s estate ensures that the intentions of the testator are respected and carried out by their wishes.
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3. Comprehensive Asset Coverage: Civil wills provide individuals with the opportunity to include all types of assets within their testamentary disposition. This includes properties, investments, bank accounts, personal belongings, and any other assets owned by the testator. The broad scope of civil wills allows for a comprehensive approach to estate planning, ensuring that no asset is left unaccounted for.
4. Protection of Minor Beneficiaries: Civil law will enable individuals to establish guardianship provisions for their minor children, ensuring their well-being and financial security in the event of the testator’s demise. By stipulating the appointment of guardians and setting up trust arrangements, parents can secure the future of their children and mitigate potential challenges that may arise in their absence.
You may also read Civil Lawyers In Dubai
GA Lawyers, a renowned legal firm based in Dubai, specializes in the development of civil wills tailored to the needs of Muslim clients. Their approach involves careful consideration of family structures, specific assets, and distribution plans, resulting in personalized and all-encompassing Civil wills. Furthermore, GA will-drafting lawyers possess a deep understanding of the legal requirements essential for ensuring the validity of a will. They lead clients through the process, guaranteeing compliance with all necessary legal prerequisites and aiding in will registration when required. Through their expertise and unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional legal services, GA Lawyers provide invaluable support to Dubai’s Muslim community in creating civil wills that align with their religious convictions and safeguard their assets for future generations.