Wills Protect Families In The UAE

Wills Protect Families In The UAE

Few people relish the thought of sitting down and writing their Will. However, it is a responsible and important part of expat life. Some parents prepare basic Wills when their children are born. However, for the majority of non-expats, Wills are normally left until later in life when there are assets to distribute. Expats wishing to have some control over their assets if they die whilst living overseas should have a Will. This post highlights some of the benefits of having a Will.

What Are Wills?

Wills are legal documents which detail your wishes on your death.

Where no Will exists there will be a default way of distributing assets and arrangements for the guardianship of young children. These default arrangements vary from country to country.

Not every country provides its citizens with complete freedom to gift whatever assets they have to whomever they wish. In many countries, it is not possible to completely disinherit children or spouses.

Expats will need to consider the laws of their host country and those of their home country when preparing their Wills. In many cases, expats own assets in third countries too which will also need to be reviewed. In some cases, this will result in expats having multiple Wills.


Wills are often used to appoint guardians to care for young children. Looking after children is hard but rewarding work as any parent will tell you. Naming a person in your Will as guardian of your children does not mean they are legally forced to take on the responsibility. Therefore, before naming a guardian, you should seek their permission and acceptance.

Wills and Tax

In the absence of a Will, the distribution of a person’s estate is unlikely to be tax efficient. The majority of British expats resident in the UAE forget they are still liable to UK death duties, known as Inheritance Tax. For UK-expats caught by this tax, they will be assessed on their worldwide assets, not just those in the UK.

Fortunately, there are exemptions and allowances which reduce the tax burden but if there are assets in the UAE being distributed according to local law, many of these benefits are lost. Having a Will in place reduces tax as well as reducing the costs associated with winding up an expat estate and distributing assets.

Summary – How Wills Protect Families In UAE

They give direction to the courts for guardianship of young children. They provide a way of distributing assets according to your wishes and not those decided in legislation. This can result in more of your estate going to your family and less to the taxman.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this post, leave me a message here, call me on 050 594 5217 or make a reservation in my diary by clicking here.

For more information on this important topic, visit our sister site Great British Wills.


Stuart Porter - Expat Financial Advisor UAE
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