When a property owner dies intestate, their assets will be distributed based on the Sharia law. That’s why if you want to control who you’re going to pass your assets to, it’s important for you to protect them as early as you can. One way to avoid distribution of your assets through a predetermined formula according to Sharia law, a will is necessary. There are other ways such as gifting or transferring the assets to a holding company. This can offer you a better outcome and several more options.
Transferring the Property to Family Members
You can gift your properties to family members of your choice. This is one means to avoid issues that may arise in the absence of any written will. This enables the simplification of the succession process.
How to Protect the Property through Gifting
A gift is also called a grant. It is a voluntary transfer of property from one individual to another. The transfer can only be done to first degree relatives, meaning children or parents. For you to be able to proceed with gifting, outstanding fees related to the property must be paid and there are some documents that must be acquired:
- An affection plan to prove the location and size of the property
- Proof of kinship, e.g., marriage certificate or birth certificate
- The original title deed as proof of ownership
- Documents of identification
- A declaration of a grant from the UAE courts that you are a UAE passport holder and citizen
- NOC or no objection certificate from the property if ever it is freehold.
Applicants must submit the documents and pay the transfer fees to the relevant registration authority for the new title to be issued. A gift transfer has its advantage over a sale or purchase transfer in terms of transfer fees.
Transferring to a Company
It is possible to protect the property through a holding company.
You can avoid inheritance issues through the transfer of ownership to a holding company. The company shareholders are the owners of the property. They still own the property but indirectly and through a different entity.
How to Protect the Property through a Holding Property Transfer
The first step is to set up an offshore holding company. Currently, only JAFZA offshore companies are allowed to own properties. You will need the assistance of a company formation specialist. Then the property ownership can be transferred to the company. Required documents, transfer fees, and the registration process are the same as the regular gift transfers.
The main benefit of transferring the property to a holding company is the continuity in the exercise of control and ownership of the property in the UAE. The owner also enjoys anonymity, take advantage of liability protection, and be able to enjoy tax advantages.
Make a Will
One way of safeguarding your property is through making a will. Without a will that is recognized by the UAE legal system, the entire process of inheriting assets right after death can be time-consuming, expensive, and legally complicated. Your heirs may not be able to enforce your wishes. By making a will, you will be able to safeguard the family’s interests regardless of which country you call home.
How to Protect the Property Through a Will
Special registries were set up in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible for non-Muslims who live and invest in each Emirate. This gives the property owner the option to pass on the assets and appoint guardians for your children, according to your specific instructions.
In Dubai, the special registry is the DIFC Wills Service Centre. All probate grants will be issued by the DIFC Court. With gift transfers, there are proper procedures to follow, required conditions to comply, and submit some paperwork. The following are some conditions set by the DIFC:
- Must not be a Muslim and have never been
- You own assets in Ras Al Khaimah and/or Dubai
- Must be over 21 years old
- The children to whom you like to appoint guardians must be a habitual resident of Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah.
A single full will comes with a Dhs10,000 fee which must be paid to the DIFC. The amount may be hefty but it’s nothing compared to the protection it provides to your investments.
Talk to an Expert on This Area
The entire process of protecting your assets for the future may be complex. This can be handled by a Dubai investment specialist. He or she will help you understand thoroughly your options and avoid costly mistakes. Investing in something of high value requires you to protect it well.