What Exactly Is a Will (And Do I Really Need One?)
A last will and testament allows you have a say about how your assets (and children) are divided in the event of your death. It’s a legal document that is both notarized and signed, and must be followed by the government that you currently reside in.
A will can encompass all forms of “assets,” from heirlooms and property to bank accounts and investments. Upon your death, you will specify how you’d like these assets divided. In some cases, certain assets can be liquidated and divided that way. In other instances (such as property or a family heirloom) you may decide to release said assets to a certain individual for safekeeping.
Wills are also used as a means to have a final say when it comes to funeral arrangements or charitable donations. They may even specify what your wishes are if you are incapacitated (for instance, whether you’d like to be taken off life support.)
What kinds of wills are there?
There are many unique types of wills. For instance:
Testamentary wills are the most common form of will. This will has been prepared by someone with knowledge of the law and has been signed in front of a witness or witnesses.
Holographic wills are also written. However, this form of will has not been signed in front of a witness or witnesses, which makes it much less likely to hold up in court.
Oral wills are wills that are spoken before a witness rather than written down. These often don’t hold the same weight as written wills in most countries.
Living wills don’t pertain to how your assets will be divided after your death. Rather, they designate what form of medical care you should receive in the event that you are incapacitated.
How important is it that I have a will?
If you have, banks accounts, retirement accounts, properties, or are married and have children, a will is very important. If you’re currently living in the UAE and the latter is true—it becomes imperative that you create a will as soon as possible.
For the most part, if you reside in the UAE and have a very small footprint here, perhaps a bank account, then the priority is lower. If you have dependents in the country, as well as property and even regional assets, a registered will must be on record.
Furthermore, UAE Money Expert recommends that the primary asset holder protect him- or herself in this way:
- Keep a separate bank account for your significant other, or have a backup account in your home country. Should one of you pass away, your assets in the UAE will be frozen in accordance with the law. This happens regardless of whether you have a will in place or not.
- Identify the right kind of life insurance as soon as possible, as this is an essential form of succession planning. An International Life Insurance Plan is our proposed recommendation as it allows beneficiary pay-outs to occur outside the UAE (and be paid immediately and directly to said beneficiary). This is all the more critical in the UAE, where Sharia Law plays a large role in asset division (not all if which can be avoided with a will.)
And of course, if you have any questions at all regarding how to set up your will, or how to create an Asset & Liability List or fill out beneficiary forms, don’t hesitate to contact the UAE Money Expert. We’d be happy to help!
Revising a Will: How Often Should I Do It?
So you’ve written up your will, divided up your assets, and have everything under control. That’s great news! But there is a concern: when do you update it? Quarterly, annually? Or perhaps it’s only if you make a dramatic change to your assets, such as moving into a new home, or purchasing a new car.
We’ll go over all the major reasons why an individual would update their will in this article. You may end up revising your will for one or perhaps many of these reasons. And of course, if you have any questions at all about the process, the specialists at UAE Money Expert will be glad to help you better understand the updating process.
Reason #1: You’ve made a recent move abroad (such as the UAE). If you wrote up your will in your home country, and have made a recent move abroad, you’ll want to change your residential address and also consider any additional assets that you’ve added during your move.
Reason #2: You’ve been abroad for some time and have acquired assets in that country. This could include any property or money located in savings accounts within your current country of residence. This also applies to new assets that you acquire in your home country.
Reason #3: You’d like to add a guardian to your will that is located in-country. It is critical that you have appointed a guardian for your children within your current country of residence.
Reason #4: You’ve recently had a child (or adopted a child). You’ll need to make changes to your beneficiaries, which can dramatically influence your will.
Reason #5: You were recently married or divorced. This is an important one. Marriage completely nullifies a previous will, so if you have one prior to getting married, you’ll need to create a new one. Secondly, with a divorce, a revision is not necessary. However, since your will was likely written during your marriage, a second look may be in your best interest.
Reason #6: You’d like to make changes to your list of beneficiaries. This is often due to a new child, but it could be anyone, from a family member to a close friend.
Reason #7: A trustee or executor of your will has died. You’ll want to immediately name a new trustee in your will.
Reason #8: Tax laws have been revised (either in your home country or in your current country of residence). Speak with a tax expert and find out how this will influence your will.
Speak with a legal expert that understands the will writing process. UAE Money Expert recommends—especially in the case of expats—that you speak with an expert before writing up your will. Someone who understands the process can help explain how to structure your finances, organize beneficiaries, and create a list of Assets and Liabilities.
If you’re looking for a knowledgeable company that specializes in wills, estate planning, guardianship, succession planning, and tax law as it relates to inheritance please complete the below form and we will get one of our Experts to contact you.