As a business owner, it is quite likely that a significant portion of your personal wealth is tied up in your business, and at some stage, every family owned business must be transferred. While an unplanned transfer, especially if caused by death, could be disastrous for your business, it could also be a potential nightmare for your family.
Business succession planning seeks to manage these issues, setting up a smooth transition between you and the future owners of your business. With family businesses, succession planning can be especially complicated because of the relationships and emotions involved. If you have partners, it is particularly important decision to make.
There are many planning strategies business owners can use to transfer a business, and selecting the right one is key to ensure continuing success for your company and security for your family. We provide experienced and practical advice that will integrate your family estate planning and retirement planning needs to maximize the value of your business and enable it to meet future needs.
Our client list spans the entire range of enterprises – from prestigious national and international companies to the young entrepreneur just starting in business. We offer a range of local and international tax services throughout south and east Europe, across Western Europe and around the world – which matches that provided by the largest advisory and corporate and trust firms.
We aim to provide each client with innovative solutions to problems and the fresh ideas upon which true success depends. This means long and hard work, attention to every detail, swift response to problems and anticipation of developments before they arise.
The key to asset protection lies in the separation of liabilities: personal liability, different business ventures, real estate, pension or ‘rainy-day-funds’ should all be separated. The simplest form of asset protection is a limited liability company. It can be used to separate your private assets from the risks associated with your business venture.
Depending on your needs, additional layers of protection can be added to protect your interests. For example, you can protect your company from the risks of a former sole proprietorship or general partnership by setting up a Trust. Your estate can be protected from claims using a Foundation, intellectual property can be managed by an offshore IP holding company and so on.
We advise you to all aspects related to inheritance and business succession. If you own a family business, retirement is more than a matter of deciding when to go. Business succession planning ensures a smooth transition and avoids ownership and control issues. We address inheritance issues for Muslims and non-Muslim nationals ensuring our clients know all facts and can make optimal decisions. We can prepare for you a will which declares your intentions as to what should happen to the distribution of your assets and much more.
In the world of International tax planning, the trust formation is popular. A trust offers the possibility to separate your business assets from your private assets, and have those assets managed on behalf of a beneficiary or charity.
When you decide to set up a trust, you can benefit from all the features of this asset protection tool and the jurisdiction that it is in. You will be able to allocate your funds and assets according to your wishes.
A trust is created by a settler who transfers some or all of his property to a trustee, who holds those trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, who are the “beneficial” owners of the trust property. There may be a single beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries. The settler may himself be a beneficiary. A trustee can be a natural person, or an artificial person.
We assist in setting up Trusts and Foundations in alternate destination worlwide customized to your needs.
Jurisdictions for Trusts:
British Virgin Islands
Jurisdictions for Foundations:
A Will is a legal document that declares your intentions as to what should happen to the distribution of your assets, on death. These assets typically include real estate, money, investments, jewellery, vehicles and personal or household belonging that you own, and they can be bequeathed to individuals, families or institutions, either in part or as a whole. A Will can also be used to specify other wishes including the appointment of temporary and permanent long-term guardians for children, contributions to charitable causes and specifying funeral arrangements.
For those that have assets in the UAE there is a simple reason to make a Will. The Government of Dubai official website states that ‘The UAE courts will adhere to Sharia law in any situation where there is no will in place’.
At Oneworld MidEast of utmost importance is to secure our client’s assets in the GCC region as well as worldwide interests. This is why we have ensured the development of the right people and contacts with the necessary expertise to put in place measures that will ensure the security of our client’s assets and put in place a succession plan as required to ensure the succession of monetary a well as non-monetary interests such as guardianship.
Until recently the only way to register a will was through the UAE courts. We can assist to draft and finalise a regional or worldwide will and then made the necessary arrangements to submit, register and execute the will in the UAE courts. Our office will take care of every step of the process and escort clients to the courts for the execution. Our office has registered a number of wills with the DIFC courts for clients. It is easy and straight forward and can be prepared and executed in 1-2 days. An Arabic legal translation of the will is also required to be submitted with the UAE courts.
DIFC wills and probate has been set up in the past two years registering wills for non-Muslim expats as well as foreign investors who do not reside in the UAE. The DIFC wills registration is possible as the DIFC has its own set of laws, following UK common law which is overseen by the DIFC Courts. In the first 1-2 years the registration of a DIFC will was not a popular choice as it was untested as well as expensive which limited the expat demographic who would be able to use the service.
What the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry offers
The Registry provides legal certainty and peace of mind to non-Muslim expatriates, allowing them to choose their beneficiaries, ultimately ensuring that the person’s wishes as stated in the Will are carried out, upon their death. It has been designed to protect people’s Dubai assets, their family and loved ones after death. The system functions as an opt-in mechanism, but the Will registration is a precondition for those who choose to opt into this system. It allows executors and beneficiaries of an estate to go through the probate process, meaning the process of distributing the deceased’s assets to the beneficiaries named in the Will, through the exclusive jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts, which functions in the English language
From this year their service and pricing made it feasible to appeal to a wider demographic and is being offered as an option for all our clients. We have seen an increased interest of expats from both the East and West registering wills with the DIFC. It is important that all documents are executed in English and under the UK common law that is being practiced by many Ex Common Wealth countries such as the India Pakistan and Australia.
Requirements for a DIFC Will
To create a valid DIFC Will, the following conditions must be met:
the testator must not be a Muslim
the testator must be 21 or above
the Will must only cover assets situated in the Emirate of Duba
The Will must be in writing and signed in front of, and witnessed by, the DIFC Registrar or an authorized office
The named executors must be at least 21 years old or, alternatively, a corporate entity
The Will must confirm that the testator intends DIFC law to apply to administration and succession matters
The Will must be registered with the DIFC (and remain so at the time of death). For a Will to be registered, executors and guardians (if any) must undertake to act (in person or by witness statement) in accordance with the DIFC’s Wills and Probate Rules and DIFC law and submit to the jurisdiction of the DIFC Court.
Our Business Succession and Asset Protection team advise you on all aspects related to inheritance and business succession. If you own a family business, retirement is more than a matter of deciding when to go. Business succession planning ensures a smooth transition and avoids ownership and control issues. We address inheritance issues for Muslims and non-Muslim nationals ensuring our clients know all facts and can make optimal decisions. We can prepare for you a Will which declares your intentions as to what should happen to the distribution of your assets, upon death and much more.
Oneworld MidEast and our seasoned professionals will also be able to advise on worldwide succession planning and more complex options such as the set up of International Company Structures, International Trusts and Foundations in order to set up a Corporate or family succession plan in confidence.
For any further information regarding UAE wills and succession planning please contact our office or raise an online enquiry.
Inheritance issues for Muslims are dealt with in accordance with Sharia, whereas for non-Muslims, the law of the deceased’s home country can apply. Succession under Sharia law principally operates by a system of forced heir ship or reserved shares.
After year of observing the pressing need for clarity on the current UAE wills and inheritance legislation, we are pleased to welcome the newly launched regime from the DIFC: The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry that should provide certainty for non-Muslim expatriates to pass on their Dubai estate in the event of death to their chosen beneficiaries.
The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry marks the introduction of a new set of rules relating to succession and inheritance matters for non-Muslims with assets in Dubai
The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry provides a mechanism for non-Muslims with assets in Dubai to pass on their estates according to their wishes
The rules governing the Wills and Probate Registry will complement existing UAE laws on inheritance for non-Muslims, and provide non-Muslims with the option and right to choose the way in which their estates are distributed.