The care of minor children where one of the parents has died may not automatically fall to the surviving parent for example where the child is adopted or a stepchild of the surviving parent. Under UAE Federal Law 28 of 2005 concerning Personal Status, only the father has the right to appoint a guardian for any of his minor children.
Within the local law, parenting is split into two spheres: tutelage (which includes guardianship) and fostering. Tutelage is the right of the father and the male line whilst fostering is the right of the mother and the female line. It is possible for the father to appoint the mother as a guardian or another person if she has pre-deceased him.
It is sensible to appoint temporary guardians for minor children resident in UAE whilst they await the arrival of their legal guardians appointed under your Will.
Complications arise where there is no Will. Under local law, the child will be a beneficiary of the deceased’s parent’s estate which is within UAE. This can result in lengthy and expensive legal action if challenged which may not prove to be successful.
Practical formal legal steps which can be taken are the registration of a guardian appointment letter with the local court and a Guardianship Will written under the DIFC. For more information on this important area, please contact us.