Death Certificate
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Dubai: Nobody likes to spend time talking about death. But no matter how morbid it is, death is inevitable and it is important that you plan how your valuable assets and accounts, both online and physical, will be administered when you’re gone.

In order to ensure all your assets, accounts and information are administered according to your wishes, consider the following:

Open an offshore account

A person’s single and joint bank accounts will be automatically frozen upon death, leaving the family with no access to money. Having a bank account outside the jurisdiction of the UAE and home country means the family can withdraw money for survival and emergency expenses.

Failing to plan can create some problems down the road – especially if you’re an expatriate with assets in the UAE. Considering that local processes follow the principles of Sharia, foreigners risk having their accounts frozen - and their thousands of dirhams in savings and investments misappropriated - upon their death.

You can also put some money in a bank account under a family member or loved one’s name.

Think about buying life insurance

Check the benefits, clauses and time period between the death and the payment. Choose between term insurance and whole of life insurance. You can opt for Islamic life insurance (Takaful) or term insurance which does not rely on investments and is Sharia compliant. Men, older people, and those with risky hobbies have higher premiums. Suicide within the first two years of buying a policy is not covered.

Draw up a will detailing how to split your assets among inheritors

Wills cost around Dh3,000, legal costs are Dh1,500-Dh2,000.

Do an inventory of all your assets including your bank accounts, investments, emergency funds, including digital accounts that you’d like to be sorted out before your death.

Consider writing a will to spell out the disbursement of all your valuable possessions. In the absence of a will, the Shariah Law will determine who gets to keep what upon your death. The UAE is home to a number of will writers and lawyers that can assist you, including financial advisory firms like Holborn Assets. Ensure that the company offering will-related services has the necessary credentials, including a lawyer qualified in family law. “Please don’t try to write your own will simply to save money,” Gregory advises.

Choose your executor carefully. You may appoint a corporate body (bank/solicitor) or nominate younger people and more than one or two as executors, to ensure they are likely to outlive you and execute your wishes. “Where the executors are corporate bodies, they are likely to outlive us. Where executors are family members or friends, it is conceivable that they might die before we do, so it is advisable to nominate younger people and more than one or two as executors,” advises Gregory.

Have your will translated into Arabic

You also need to get the will attested and ratified by the UAE embassy in your home country before submission to the UAE court. Usually, people will not bother to take these actions because they may find different rules apply and translation to other languages if they move country. Often, wills are written but the spouse will obtain translations, among others, following the death.

Make a list of your passwords

If you have an active life online and maintain important digital accounts such as Ebay or PayPal, which you think your family should have access to when you die, make a list of all the passwords and pass the information to a trusted executor. Create regular back-ups of all data, both those stored local and those online. Create a detailed document with instructions on how to access all of your digital data and backups. Appoint a designated digital executor to provide any necessary technical support, advises Paul Hymers, finance director at Atlas Corporate Services.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave the passwords of all your social networking and email accounts to an outsider or executor. You might want to keep some of your digital accounts hidden for eternity. “More and more people have a digital cyber world to take care of and they may wish to have such things deleted immediately after their death. Web-based photo libraries, Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and personal documents may be things that the deceased does not want to be found at all,” observes Gregory. Besides, Hymers says, websites such as Facebook allows accounts to be memorialised or deleted by an immediate family member , while Twitter will remove an account if they receive a death certificate and provide all archived tweets from the user to the executor of the estate.

Some tips to prepare before your death

1. Check your work package if you have funeral and repatriation coverage. Check medical insurance for repatriation costs.

2. Save about 25 per cent of your salary, not just for your death but for your family’s life.

3. Before the deceased’s account is unfrozen, debts must be paid out first from those accounts. Pay your debts regularly to avoid from piling up.

4. Make a list of your assets, liabilities, insurance, stock or investments here and abroad, so the will executor knows where to locate the money.

5. Get off your partner’s visa and onto your employer’s sponsorship if you are working. The deceased’s visa gets cancelled and you will have to leave the country.

6. Don’t rely on your company for death and services benefits.

7. Nominate beneficiaries for your life insurance so they can receive the money.

8. Draft a will and email it to your relatives. Keep the original at home or with a lawyer for records.

9. Write how you would like your body dealt with after death.

10. Write a list of emergency contacts.

11. It is cheaper to be cremated in the UAE than repatriated. Budget airlines do not provide a repatriation service.