Wills and Testaments

Will is a legal declaration of the intention of a testator with respect to his property, which he desires to be carried into effect after his death. It includes codicil and every writing making a voluntary posthumous disposition of property. It is testamentary instrument by which a person makes disposition of his property to take effect after his death, and which, in its own nature, is ambulatory and revocable during his life. Thus, a Will can be changed by the executants as and when he so likes. It is a secret and confidential document which the executants is never ordered to produce.


What happens to your possessions, property and money?


If you do not have a Will, the Government takes up this responsibility and creates one for you following the Laws of Intestacy. Under these laws, your wealth will be shared amongst your spouse, children or parents. If the individual is unmarried, the partner will get no share of wealth.


If you do have a Will, you can stipulate exactly how your Estate (all your possessions, assets) is distributed and in what proportions.  This will allow you to plan wisely, ensure that your wealth isn’t mishandled and steer clear of family disputes.


What is Inheritance Tax?


Inheritance tax is the tax you pay on your estate.  In simple terms this is everything that you own at the time of your death, once you have taken away anything that you owe.


A professionally drafted Will can significantly reduce or even eliminate your inheritance Tax bill thereby making more money available to your dear ones. Should a partner require long term care, you can also avoid your funds from being seized by local authorities.



Legal Guardian: Have you planned for your child’s safety and wellbeing in your absence?


To ensure the safety and security of your children in the future, it is significant to appoint specific guardians to take up the responsibility in your absence. Not appointing specific guardians will result in local authorities choosing guardians for your child, in a way they see fit. This can work against your favor and cause distress and inconvenience for your children.


In some cases, the partner (if unmarried) does not automatically become the guardian to his child, even if he is the father.


Set up Trusts for the benefit of children or to protect the funds from being wasted


Setting up a Trust has numerous benefits. Primarily, it ensures that the funds are not inherited by beneficiaries when they are too young and also prevents them from wasting the wealth distributed to them. This is useful when making long term financial provisions for physically and mentally handicapped children.


Taking care of a pet and providing to Charity


Writing your Will gives you the opportunity to leave your Charitable organization (free of tax) or allow you to make provisions to take care of a much loved family pet, if nobody is available to look after it.


Have a say in your funeral arrangements


By making a Will, you can ensure that the desired recipients of your assets gain access to them far more quickly than if there is no Will in place .You may want to have a say in what would happen when you die.  You can choose if you would like to be buried or cremated, where you would like to have your funeral and songs and readings that could be sung at it.


Will For the Expatriates

If you have property investments or assets and you are currently residing in the UAE, chances are, without a proper Will, your family will face problems in the future.


Most countries do have statutory laws that would help in the distribution of your wealth if you do not have a will in place. In Dubai, Sharia Law is quite predominant and is used widely for the disbursement of assets.


What is Sharia law?


"Sharia, or Islamic law, influences the legal code in most Muslim countries. A movement to allow sharia to govern personal status law, a set of regulations that pertain to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and custody, is even expanding into the West.

For Wills, Sharia Law demands on fixed share allocation where each member of the family gets a fixed share, based on parameters. This doesn’t give the deceased a chance to fulfil his wishes. So it is extremely important that you make a Will, so that your loved ones can avoid family disputes and legal difficulties in case of your sudden demise.


Debts and Dues


Do you know that if you die intestate (without a Will), your debts and mortgages will burden your family? All your assets will be frozen and everything related to your estate will be dictated by the Sharia law. Your debts and dues will be paid up before the disbursement of any property.

Just writing a Will can give you the power to structure a good financial plan for your family. You will be aided with advice on setting up an Assets & Liabilities list, on how you could complete beneficiary forms and also maintaining a filing system that would help executors locate your estate.

Shariah Compliant Wills

All Muslims will recognise the importance of drawing up a Will which meets your religious obligations and does what is required under the Shariah. Certain texts taken from the Quran showcase references to Wills.


Surah An Nisa


Verse 13:  These are the limits (set by) Allah (or ordainments), and whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) will be admitted to gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success.


Verse 14: And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment.


According to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH:


"It is not permissible for any Muslim who has something to Will, stay two nights without having his last Will & Testament written and kept ready with him"

(Sahih Bukhari Book of Wills Volume 4, Book 51, Number 1).


Muslims require the bill!


As many Muslims own properties in non Muslim countries, the importance of having a Shariah Will becomes almost compulsory for them. Every country has a different Inheritance System, so if a Muslim has assets in a different country, then the property will be distributed according to Indian Laws and not Shariah.


Note: Every Muslim is allowed to bequeath up to a maximum 1/3rd of their wealth to charity for “Sadqa Jaria” purposes.

Importance of the Islamic Will

Our rights as Muslims:


  • When you make an Islamic Will, your wishes are protected and implemented in the event of your death. Without the Will, the court is entitled to distribute your property as per the laws of the state.
  • Every asset you own is of value to you. The Islamic Will helps you protect your possessions regardless if their value.
  • Be it clothes, cash or property, all are a part of your wealth. They will be protected and distributed the ‘halaal way’.
  • You can be rest assured that the Islamic Will shall distribute your assets to family or other beneficiaries in accordance with the Sunnah.
  • All legal requirements are contained in the Islamic Will, securing the Muslim of his wishes and fulfilling his duties under the Shariah law.


Your wishes:


  • You will have a say in what happens to your body after your death. According to the Law of Allah, the Islamic Will helps you treat your body with respect and dignity.
  • Your body will be treated in accordance with the Sunnah and Shariah laws. Your Will ensures all of your burial rights directing how your body is cleansed, shrouded and buried.
  • Not having an Islamic Will gives room for Non- Islamic burial, conducts such as autopsy, organ donation or cremation.


Who can be your Executor?


  • Identify a relevant Executor. He/ She represents you after you pass away. Your wealth and assets would be distributed according to your wishes in the Islamic Will. Matters of the funeral, trusts and other important aspects will be taken care of, by the executor.
  • Anyone can be an executor, ensure they are close to you, reliable and trustworthy.


Without an Islamic Will, you might face issues like:


  • Distribution of assets, the non-Islamic way and not as per your wishes.
  • Family members need permission from executor if your assets are placed in a trust.
  • Delay by courts, expensive processes and no access to assets for family’s sustenance.
  • Executor can access bank accounts or other personal assets for maintenance of family


How will the Islamic Will benefit your children?


  • You can pick the right Guardians to protect them, and provide physical and mental support to them. Those who can provide them with good education and values.
  • Your children (if minors) will be granted an executor by the court if you do not have a Will. This might bring inconvenience as you know what the child requires best.
  • If courts appoint a legal guardian on your behalf, they take their fees, payable from the child’s inheritance.

Making the Will - What do you need?

Passport copies/ Visa pages

Documents of Executors – at least 2 Executor

Complete details of Guardians, Interim and permanent

Details of how you would like your estate to be distributed

Contracts - Drafting & Reviewing

Details of any gifts

Assets & liability list

Contact sheet

Details of any business interests

Funeral arrangements