The UAE is no doubt a hub for business and property investment given its strong legal framework, strategic location and favourable tax regime. As result many families, business/ property owners have chosen to settle here, invest and do business. So, there has never been a more important time to protect your assets and family in the UAE than now.
Legacy, inheritance planning and asset protection is no doubt on the rise. It’s important for expatriates to consider the options below to ensure their assets in the UAE are preserved for future generations. The DIFC Will and DIFC Foundation both provide a unique set of benefits and can be customised to meet specific needs and requirements.
Additionally, the option of gifting property can also be a cost-effective way to transfer assets, especially for immediate family members. Protecting your assets is a crucial step in preserving your legacy in the UAE. If you have invested in a property or a business, as a resident or an overseas investor, you need to safeguard it for the future.
Below are the most popular options in the UAE:
Make a DIFC Will
Why a DIFC Will? The establishment of the DIFC Courts Wills Service Centre gives non-Muslims investing in the UAE the option to pass on their assets and/or appoint guardians for their children in accordance with their Will. By creating a DIFC Will, you can ensure your assets are distributed as per your wishes, rather than being subject to default provisions that may not reflect your intentions.
Set up a DIFC Foundation
What is a DIFC Foundation? The DIFC introduced the DIFC Foundation regime in 2018 as an alternative wealth structuring vehicle for both Muslim /Non-Muslim expatriates and investors that wish to protect their property, shares in business and other assets in the UAE. A Foundation is a legal entity that can be set up to hold assets to distribute them according to specific objectives for the benefit of your family or other designated beneficiaries.
Why set up a DIFC Foundation? As the UAE is a civil law jurisdiction, DIFC Foundations are becoming increasingly popular.
One of the most attractive features is it allows you to transfer property you own in Dubai or shares of your business into the Foundation. The Foundation can then manage the assets and distribute the income/ proceeds to the beneficiaries.
The beauty of the Foundation is that it can be structured to reflect your wishes and can provide a long-term solution for succession planning.
One of the key advantages of the DIFC Foundation is its flexibility. It can set up with a clear legal structure, providing certainty and protection for the beneficiaries. It can be adapted over time to reflect changing circumstances or objectives. Additionally, it provides a tax efficient structure, and its assets are generally protected from creditors.
The popularity of DIFC Foundations has grown rapidly which is a testament to the success of the DIFC as a leading financial centre in the Middle East. The flexibility and protection offered makes it an attractive option for entrepreneurs or investors that wish to structure their affairs for their future legacy.
Gifting/ transfer of property
Why should I gift my property in Dubai? Gifting immediate family members real estate attracts a much lower transfer fee of 0.125 per cent of the deemed value of the property currently. Property transfers otherwise attract a transfer fee of 4 per cent. You can transfer assets and/or property as a gift; however, there are strict rules to be followed.
How can TWS Legal Consultants help?
At TWS Legal Consultants, we can help you protect your children, assets or business, having had over a decade of hands-on experience in inheritance and legacy planning solutions in the UAE. Can you afford not to talk to us?
— The writer is Managing Partner, TWS Legal Consultants, Dubai