The last Will or the testament has been regulated by all the modern and ancient laws worldwide, as an expression of wishes of any person to some actions and decisions that should be taken, and instructions to be followed after their death – either concerning their assets and how it should be distributed or concerning important decisions towards the well-being and future of their minor children.
Everyone should write their last Will. I have been saying this for so many years, even before the unforeseen events of the 2020 global pandemic crisis, during its time, and until now. I am sure I will continue saying the same in the future as well, the world is about to pass this historic moment and life is beginning to return back to normal.
In general, you should have the last Will in place unless your Will makes absolutely no sense; like you have no savings, no assets, no family, no children and nothing to leave behind. If you have any of these and you are not immortal, you should write your last Will.
What exactly is the importance of having the last Will or testament?
The last Will or the testament has been regulated by all the modern and ancient laws worldwide, as an expression of wishes of any person to some actions and decisions that should be taken, and instructions to be followed after their death—either concerning their assets and how it should be distributed or concerning important decisions towards the well-being and future of their minor children. The importance of the last Will is mainly in its existence. When it exists, the person knows for sure that when the time comes, and he/she is not around to decide, there is a legally binding document that expresses his/her wishes and decisions.
For example, if there is no last Will or testament in place, the distribution of all the assets of the deceased person happens as per the law of the country of residence, or the home country laws. It will depend on what the successors of the deceased person will apply for, and what the laws of the country where the assets exist will allow-in most of the cases, a very uncertain situation.
The same applies to the children’s future when the person would not know who is going to be the custodian or the guardian of the children, and who will be responsible for their raising and well-being. Having the last Will clears this uncertainty. Therefore, having the last Will is not only important at the time of crisis, it is very important at all times. It does not make any difference if you are a Muslim or Non-Muslim, a local or an expatriate, rich or poor. Everybody should have the last Will if they have something or someone to care about and leave behind!
The UAE authorities have issued several laws and regulations that allow Muslims and non-Muslims to register their last Will or testament to ensure everybody can decide on their succession planning the way they want, and in line with their own wishes and faith. What are the things to consider when writing a Will?
Everyone should consider the local laws of the country where they live, the laws of their home country, and the country’s laws where their assets exist. Each of those places can be the same for some people and can be 3 different laws for others. Therefore, none of these laws should be ignored, as they all must be considered when drafting the last Will. It is also quite important to select a trusted person or more to be appointed as the Executor of the last Will.
In other words, the Executor is the person who will open, read, and take actions to make the wishes and instructions mentioned in the last Will happen. My message to people who want to prepare a Will and do not know where to start, I encourage everyone to write and register their Will. Writing a Will is preparing a crucial legal document that will survive your existence. If it is done correctly, it becomes an effective and reliable tool, and if it is done incorrectly or inaccurately or contradicting with the law, or if contains loopholes that can be used to bypass it or block it from making its intended effect, it will be absolutely useless.
So, the first thing to consider when writing a Will is to consult a specialized professional for advice. A certified and experienced Wills draftsman. The second most important thing to do is to find some time on your own where you can be uninterrupted and write down all your assets, all your valuables, tangible or intangible, all your wishes, all the things you want to happen in the future even if you are not there to see it, to create a clear picture of what you should mention in your Will.
Not only what you own and what kind of situations that you would like to clarify when your time comes, write down everything, and your lawyer will be able to discuss with you what you can and cannot include into your Will. On top of all the experience we have advising our clients on last wills, we are registered with DIFC WPR as qualified Wills Draftsmen and we have registered quite a considerable amount of last wills on behalf of our clients in Dubai and Abu Dhabi!