We are often asked the question as to what the difference between a power of attorney and a will by most of our clients as the intent to achieve certain objectives related to their inheritance in the UAE. It is important to understand that powers of attorney and wills are completely different documents and achieve different objectives at different times and cannot be confused to be as one document. We have provided below the key differences between wills and powers of attorney for your understanding in order for you to make the correct decision before you proceed with the intended document:
A will is not a power of attorney
A will is a document that contains the wishes of a testator in terms of the distribution of his property/estate to his/her intended beneficiaries upon that. A power of attorney on the other hand is a document that contains powers given by a principal to the attorney/agent for carrying out any general or specific transactions in the UAE.
Power of attorney expires upon death
A power of attorney expires upon the death of the individual/principal. It cannot be used by the attorney/agent once the principal has passed away. In other words, the power of attorney expires with the principal and cannot be used for any transactions whether general or specific after the death of the principal.
Will triggers upon death
A will is a document that triggers upon the death of the testator and is relied upon by the beneficiaries in order for them to be declared as the confirmed beneficiaries through a probate order. The executor appointed under the will would typically take the will to the court to have it implemented. Once the court issues a probate order based on the wishes communicated by the testator in the will, the property/estate owned by the testator can be transferred to the beneficiaries based on the probate order issued by the court. There are rules and regulations that are required to be complied with for the writing of wills in the UAE. Hence, it is important that you take legal advice in order to proceed with the drafting of the wills in the UAE.
Based on the above differences, it is important that you do not treat the wills and powers of attorney as the same documents. You should use the power of attorney in order to undertake certain transactions that need to be completed during your lifetime. A will on the other hand is a document that will entitle you to provide your wishes in terms of the distribution of your estate upon your death.