This is something that many of us working abroad do not think about. We have a job; we are young and healthy, so why do we need to have a legal will, or insurance, for that matter? Be advised that your assets might be frozen until a legitimate heir will show proof to claim them. This can take some time to process and having a last will and testament in Qatar would definitely help..
Unless you already have a careful plan, or have already thought out what would happen to your family should anything happen to you while working in Qatar, then maybe now is the time for you to consider having one.
Steps in Having a Legal Will – How to Set up Last Will and Testament in Qatar
If you don’t have a last will and testament, here’s what you should do to make sure that it is legal and will be honored in Qatar.
- Get a will written in your home country.
- Have the will attested at the Embassy of Qatar in your home country.
- Have the will translated into Arabic language and make sure that you have this document translation with you ready while you are in Qatar.
- Have the will registered at the Ministry of Justice in Qatar so that it will also be included in Qatar records.
Will Under Qatar Law
According to Article 23 of the Qatari Civil Code:
- Inheritance shall be governed by the law of nationality of the deceased at the time of death.
- Legacies in Qatar without any legatee shall be governed by the Qatari law.
Not only legal will, but having life insurance and savings are equally important. ©Ken Mayer/Flickr
The second law applies in the event that the deceased expat has properties but no beneficiaries in Qatar. Persons who are entitled to receive the inheritance from the deceased are categorized according to Article 251 of Qatari Family Law (Law 22 of 2006).
We have to note that neither the Qatari Family Law nor the Qatari Civil Code requires both expats and Qatari nationals to have a will in place. However, because of the advantages of having one, more people are having their will done.
In the Absence of Will
If a will was not in place when an expat dies in Qatar, all assets registered in their names (bank accounts, cars and other valuables) may be frozen until a legitimate heir provided the Family Court proof of who will be entitled and inherit the said assets.
The following documents need to be provided by the heir as proof to claim the assets of the deceased relative:
- Authenticated legal statement of entitlement from their country of nationality.
- Copies of documents certifying that the deceased owns the assets in question.
The guardianship of your children should be stated on your will. ©Kat Grigg/Flickr
Guardianship of the Children
It is also suggested that you write in your legal will the name of the person who will be in charge in taking care of the welfare of your child/children should anything happen to you and your spouse while you are working in the country.
The Qatar Foundation for Child and Women Protection (QFCW) is responsible for the care of the children in the event that both parents passed away in Qatar. They will then contact the relatives who were named in the will of the deceased to have full custody of their children.
Proving their legal affiliation with the deceased by presenting birth certificates and other pertinent documents, the QFCW will then transfer the guardianship of the children to their next of kin.
Get a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) Document
Aside from having a will, getting a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) is equally important. And this can be done in the Ministry of Justice in Qatar.
Having an SPA sets up another option so that you can declare to proper Qatar ministry about what will happen to your assets as well as the persons who will have custody over your children in the event that both you and your spouse die while in Qatar. After having your Special Power of Attorney document written, have it signed and stamped at the Ministry of Justice.
Things to Know about Legal Will
As most expats working in Qatar know, banks in here freeze the bank accounts and assets of the deceased. And if you already have a Special Power of Attorney (SPA), this could help minimize the time it takes so that you can unfreeze your bank accounts much faster, saving your family and relatives from too much trouble to have access to your account.
It is also worth mentioning for couples to enroll for a Joint Bank Account in their Qatar bank, making sure that both the husband and wife would gain access to the account. And should any unforeseen incidents happen, the other party will be able to access his or her money in the bank.
It is always worthy to secure the future of your children and your family. And having a legal will is one way to do it. Even if it might be tiresome to set it up yourself, just like insurances, this will really help your family in the long run to avoid any conflict in claiming the inheritance and legal rights on your properties in the future.