Here is some helpful advice concerning wills and why you should consider having one.
While it’s not often something expats think about, understanding the legal provisions on inheritance is a significant step towards protecting your loved ones. There is no law in Qatar that requires anyone, whether nationals or expats, to have a will. However, there are several reasons why you should have one.
What law would apply?
The law in Qatar states that inheritance is governed by the law of the nationality of the deceased. For instance, if the deceased held a British passport, then the UK’s laws would apply.
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However, if the deceased expat has assets in Qatar but no heirs in the country, then the Qatari law would apply. The Qatari Family law has a prioritised list of seven categories of family members who have inheritance rights. In the case that no one fits on the list, then the assets will go to the State.
What happens if you have no will?
In the case that there was no will in place, the deceased expat’s assets, including bank accounts, will likely be frozen until the Family Court receives proof of entitlement from the heirs.
This is normally a legal statement obtained from their home country and it has to be authenticated in Qatar. The heirs will also need to provide documentation that prove the deceased’s ownership of the assets in question.
On the other hand, if you have a will in your home country, then your assets in Qatar will also be distributed according to that will.
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What about the guardianship of children?
In the unfortunate case that both parents pass away, then children will be taken into care by the Qatar Foundation for Child and Women Protection (QFCW). They will then try to get in contact with the next of kin, who will need to provide proof of their relationship.
Having a will avoids all this and the potential issues that could arise. In a will, you can appoint temporary (in Qatar) and permanent guardians for your children.