A Quarterly Newsletter from the UAE and Oman member firms of the PKF International Ltd.

VOL 17, Issue 2 April 2015

Offshore Update











As the new Midfield Terminal Building begins to rise above the ground to become the new gateway to the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi Airports is entering into an era of unparalleled transformation which will see Abu Dhabi international Airport become a vital international aviation and business hub in the Middle East.

The growth in passenger and cargo traffic Abu Dhabi international Airport has witnessed over the last few years triggered the development of Abu Dhabi Airport Business City – an ‘aerotropolis’ featuring three main facilities and services; a Logistics Park, a Business Centre and a Business Park.

The focus is to encourage foreign direct investment, and create a functional and livable environment that will include residential, recreational, retail, and lifestyle districts. The Logistics Park covers more than 114,000 square meters, and houses a total of 100 warehouses. Currently, the capacity at this innovative business area has reached 90%.

Construction on the Abu Dhabi Airport Business City’s flagship building began at the end of 2013, which has now been completed and preparations are underway to start the handover from May 2015.

Abu Dhabi Airport Business City’s goal is to support the drive in positioning Abu Dhabi as an international hub for aviation, logistics, technology and IT through capitalizing on its economic strength and strategic location, combined with offering a unique product that is efficient, convenient and cost competitive.

The Logistics Park covers more than 114,000 square meters, and houses a total of 100 warehouses.

Abu Dhabi Airport Business City’s flagship building will enable global businesses interested in capturing the potential of the Abu Dhabi marketplace to establish themselves at the gateway to the Capital, creating access to new partnerships, and unparalleled global connectivity.

All tenants of the Business Park, Business Centre, and Logistics Park will be provided with a full spectrum of integration services including company registration, licensing, leasing and rapid visa processing for employees in a Free Zone ‘One-Stop-Shop’ environment. They will also be able to enjoy duty and tax exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, and repatriation of capital and profits.

To date, more than 125 business licences have been issued to international businesses looking to grow their footprint in Abu Dhabi, and the new Business Centre is nearing capacity, driving the completion of the flagship building, and demonstrating the desire of leading international organisations to partner with a growing aviation hub in a marketplace with limitless potential.

The Business Centre, which opened in 2013, provides fully furnished and serviced executive offices in a facility that is designed with the flexibility to accommodate individual as well as corporate clients; comprising of dedicated executive offices flexi desks and dedicated desks with executive meeting rooms and providing full administrative support and other business services and amenities, including photocopying, facsimile, telephone answering service, in a fully IT networked environment.

The facility is currently at 98% occupancy with businesses from Europe, the United State of America, Japan and India all making the Business Centre their base in the UAE.

The midfield Terminal Building and Abu Dhabi Airport Business City are the cornerstones of a new era which will see a record number of international passengers travel through Abu Dhabi, establishing the Emirate as an international air transport hub.

The Business Centre provides fully furnished and serviced executive offices and is designed to accommodate individual as well as corporate clients.

Abu Dhabi Airport Business City is developing the Free Zone for the promotion of international trade. The ‘aerotropolis’ is set to become one of the key commercial hubs in the region for businesses looking to take advantage of the economic benefits.

A number of international businesses are partnering with Abu Dhabi Airports, directly contributing to the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy, and establishing the Emirates as an international and business hub.

[The above material is reproduced, as received from Abu Dhabi Airport Business City. Please contact Mr. Snimith Vasant, Senior Sales Officer, Abu Dhabi Airport Business City on +971 2505 3425 (Off) or +971 50 818 6905 (Mob) if you need further information.]

The DIFC Wills & Probate Service will be launched on April 30th, 2015.

In the face of perceived uncertainty many people with assets in Dubai are moving their assets to overseas jurisdictions. At the same time, many Dubai expatriates are unaware that in the absence of a registered will, the process of transferring their assets to their loved ones after death is time consuming and fraught with legal complexity.

The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry will provide a first-of-its-kind service that allows eligible individuals the ability to register their wills according to the principles of testamentary freedom, meaning the freedom to dispose of their property upon death as they see fit.

By virtue of the new draft rules, eligible individuals with assets in Dubai now will have the ability to register wills that create legal certainty for the inheritance of their assets after death. The Registry provides a simple and efficient mechanism for non-Muslims to pass on their estates according to their wishes.

The innovative new legal solution will enhance Dubai’s attractiveness as a destination for expatriate talent and investment and support greater economic growth and capital inflows. At the same time, the new regime reflects the spirit of existing UAE inheritance laws, which provide non-Muslims the right to choose the way in which their estates are distributed.

The UAE is the first jurisdiction in the Middle East where non-Muslims can make a will under international-recognized Common Law principles.

Yet, this is not the first such system in the world. A few other common law jurisdictions such as Malaysia, Hong-Kong, and Singapore also have similar provisions to deal with the estates of Muslims and non-Muslims distinctively.

The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry (WPR) does not have any judicial functions. It is an administrative body. WPR works with the DIFC Courts in the production of grants and court orders for the distribution of assets as well as guardianship. The ability of non-Muslims expatriates to gain legal certainty for the distribution of their assets in Dubai is subject to a formal will registration process and functions as an opt-in mechanism.

The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry (The Registry) will work in conjunction with the DIFC Courts. The DIFC Courts will issue the necessary distribution orders for the ensuing Probate Process. All probate grants will be issued by DIFC Courts judges.

All claims, applications and objections to the probate process will be heard by the DIFC Courts, in accordance with the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules, (WPR Rules) the Rules of the DIFC Courts and all other laws applicable in the DIFC.

In order to register a will with the DIFC Wills & Probate Service, the requirements are that:

  • The person wishing to register a will is not Muslim
  • The person is over 21 years
  • If the person requires a guardianship provision included in the will, he/she has minors living with him/her in Dubai
  • The person assets in Dubai

Although they uphold the principles of testamentary freedom, the probate process will follow specific rules, in respect of laws applicable to distribution of your assets, handling creditors, debt and similar matters.
In the UAE, unlike in other jurisdictions, the probate process does not involve any taxes.

The only administrative costs associated with probate are:

The fixed probate fees payable to the Registry, which are not related to the value of the estate. The Dubai Government fees for transfer of property (currently at 4% to be shared equally between the buyer and the seller) and those fees applicable by other Dubai Government authorities, in the process of executing a will and of administration of an estate.

The Probate process would be speedy and cost effective compared to many other jurisdictions. The Wills and Probate Registry follows a simple and efficient process for obtaining grants of probate and guardianship orders, allowing for the streamlined execution of a will and the distribution of an estate.

Chaitanya Kirtikar
Manager, Offshore and Freezone Services