Planning for the future has never been of paramount importance as it is in today’s climate where financial, economic and health uncertainty are predominant. Overall, Estate planning helps to consolidate and protect your assets, protects your privacy and confidentiality takes care of your beneficiaries, protects your family, and prevents future disputes in your family while easing the process of succession.
Estate /Succession Planning is very crucial as it optimizes tax exposure by reducing any applicable taxation that can be levied on the estate, effectively when assets are located in various high tax foreign jurisdictions, and minimizes any uncertainties relating to how inheritance of assets takes place amongst heirs, especially when the foreign located assets are subject to various foreign estate planning laws.
Will, is the most common way to plan your estate, describe how and to whom the assets will be transferred or not through inheritance. To prevent forced heirship rights and mitigate Sharia Law reach, Wincore can assist a non-Muslim HNI resident or not in the UAE to establish a DIFC will registered in the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry (DIFC is a UAE Common Law Jurisdiction based on the UK Estates Act and Probate Rules). It not only reduces a lot of potential complications, but also secures your full testamentary freedom (except some restrictions depending on the testator’s citizenship and/or residency) and covers guardianship matters related to minor children habitually resident in Dubai with the testator:
- For Muslim, the Sharia law applies automatically, without opting out alternative such as wills, to all their personal assets once there had been released on settlement of all deceased’s liabilities. The distribution is sequenced, highly regulated and precisely defined amongst the heirs by leaving no room for freedom of disposal, as forced heirships rights apply, to adapt to the specifics and needs of the family members (girls, heirs from different wives or lineages, disable children…) or cater the wishes of the deceased.
- For Non-Muslim, they can opt for the application of a foreign estate law, to not be subject to the Sharia Law ‘’by default regime’’ applicable to all UAE based assets (real estate, shares of companies, bank accounts….) and foreign estates of residents at time of their death, and benefit of the possibility to write a will which could be registered in UAE within the DIFC.
Trusts and Foundations are the most efficient and protective ways to plan your estate, describe how and to whom the assets will be transferred or not through inheritance:
- The Founder / Settlor will transfer his property into the Foundation/Trust by endowing/ vesting his properties into the Foundation/ Trust. The Foundation/ Trustee holds and manages them for the benefit of the beneficiaries by holding the legal ownership over the transferred properties/assets.
- They are orphan entities (they don’t have shareholders, unlike companies, but hold a Board of Councilors / Trustees, Guardian/ Protector and beneficiaries.)
- Their beneficiaries are person(s), including the founder/ settlor during his lifetime) or group of people who are appointed in private documentations, not accessible to the public (By-laws – Trust deed). They could also have a charitable purpose.
- The founder can retain control of management and decision, reserved powers and veto over them. He can be Councilor, Trustee, Guardian or Protector of the entities.
- They are discreet, flexible planning tools in the context of Estate Planning in the UAE. The Trust is not registered by any registration authority unlike a Foundation, which has a legal personality by itself and holds a registration number.
- Unlike a will, foundations are separate legal entities and are therefore able to manage the estate of the deceased to fulfill his wishes through time and generations. As such they are granted rights to manage their assets, benefit of tax treaties and reliefs, open bank accounts, hold underlying assets (companies, real estate, portfolio, work of art…), ….They can also be used as governance planning tools in order to manage the appointment and the removal of the key governing persons of the Family’s group of companies over time after the death of the founder/ settlor.
- Foundations can be established for an infinity of purposes such as: to benefit different families of a spouse, segregate various assets from each other’s (of different type, nature or location), avoid misappropriation following mental or physical incapacity of the founder/ settlor …
- Trusts & Foundations serve also many other main purposes such as: business governance planning, confidentiality planning, investment fund planning, asset protection planning (by segregating the family’s private assets from the business assets to limit the reach of the business creditors or by protecting the spouse ‘s assets from divorce proceedings), tax planning, securitization purposes, off balance sheets purposes…
Planning and management of your wealth can be very challenging. Our team of well-experienced International Estate Planning experts can support and guide you through every step of this process. For further information,
For Support and assistance on any of these matters Get in Touch with our Corporate Team Today
Wincore specializes in Tax, Estate, Corporate and Fiduciary matters. We provide pragmatic, flexible and efficient solutions to individual entrepreneurs, startup businesses, foreign and local SMEs, multinationals, wealthy international families, HNWIs and UHNWIs.
Wincore Advisory Group’s full range of services: CRS (AEOI) – OECD exchange of information; Economic Substance Regulations; Trust & Foundation; Asset protection, Estate & Tax Planning; Corporate Services; Sophisticated UAE Sponsorship Planning; Debt Collection Services in UAE; Residency & Citizenship Services (Foreign second passports).