Dubai City Information Site

Asset Protection in Dubai – How to Offshore & Protect Your Assets


This article focuses on asset protection in Dubai, and how you can leverage globalization to your advantage by off shoring assets out of Dubai to credible and safe jurisdictions.

Off shoring your assets to such jurisdictions mean more privacy, continued benefits of no taxation, no reporting and disclosure requirements, easy anytime access to your money through off shore banking, smooth transition of estate upon death, and much more.

A sound asset protection strategy can make your and your family’s life more stress free, and ensure a smooth transition of assets to your beneficiaries some day. Off shoring has become a common tool used in estate planning in Dubai by expats living and working in Dubai today.

Many of them have accumulated significant wealth over the years, and the last thing they want is to have that wealth erode away in expensive attorney and court fees through the probate / wealth transition phases.

Why do expats look to protect assets in Dubai through off shoring?

  • Asset protection in Dubai is non existent for many expats. Because of the Islamic Sharia Law, there are several complications in how personal wealth is treated by the Government of Islamic nations.


  • The laws are ambiguous, often favoring the Government to interpret it as they may. This has lead to several disastrous situations for expats, their widows and heirs.


  • There have been several instances where the Government has seized all wealth owned by expats, leaving family members with nothing at all; all those years of hard work gone in moments.


  • Most Islamic nations are not Democracies, often ruled by a single ruler. Rules and regulations can change anytime with no notice. In other words, there is no certainty and stability at all, often causing unrest (no peace of mind).


  • Islamic nations do not naturalize expats as “Nationals” or “Citizens”. An expat can never reach the status of a local citizen, and thereby earn the right to be treated equally as the locals. This is the single biggest reason that leads to uncertainty, particularly with legal matters.


  • Long story short – the message is that you should never leave your assets exposed to significant risk. Although risk cannot be completely eliminated, it can be managed and mitigated effectively and efficiently.

Let’s look at why folks consider off shoring a strong asset protection strategy:

  • Defined laws, regulations and structures, which lead to no volatility and uncertainty


  • Continued zero tax benefits on wealth, income, capital, dividends, etc.


  • Off shore destinations are typically very popular tourist destination


  • Excellent online and telecommunications infrastructure


  • No foreign exchange restrictions


  • Typically an American (USA) or British Overseas Territory


  • Modern financial services legislation


  • Broad, reputable, professional infrastructure


  • Common law legal system based on English law – Not a single person ruled nation!


  • No Exchange Controls - US Dollars circulate freely


  • Complete Confidentiality regarding tax and related issues


  • Various accounts serviced by international and local Banks – Off shore banking allows you to bank from anywhere in the world, with access to your account 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The online banking infrastructure makes conducting transactions even easier


  • No MINIMUM capital requirement at all!


  • Flexible, modern legislation in a jurisdictions committed to tremendous growth


  • 1 page reporting requirement, if at all – fully confidential and does not disclose your identity


  • A ton more!

What about ongoing requirements?

  • There is very little you have to do on an ongoing basis to maintain your asset protection strategy by off shoring wealth. There is a lot of flexibility


  • You only need one director or shareholder to form a company


  • Shareholder(s) and director(s) may be the same person


  • The shareholder(s) and director(s) can be a natural person or a corporate body


  • There is no requirement of appointing local shareholder(s) and director(s)


  • There is no requirement of resident secretary


  • Very flexible share and capital requirements - shares can be issued with or without par value


  • Shares may be issued in any recognizable currency or in more than one recognizable currency approved by the Registrar


  • Shares may be paid up in cash or through the transfer of other assets or for other consideration


  • There is no minimum or maximum share capital required


  • Taxes – If you do no business in the off shore jurisdiction (chances are most don’t), then you are not subject to any corporate tax, income tax, withholding tax, capital gains tax or other like taxes based upon or measured by assets or income originating outside the off shore jurisdiction


  • Subject to the articles or by-laws, meetings may be convened at any time and place within or outside the off shore jurisdiction as the directors consider necessary or desirable – just make sure you maintain the minutes or records


  • Maintain clean accounting records that are sufficient to record and explain the transactions of the company; and will, at any time, enable the financial position of the company to be determined with reasonable accuracy. This does not mean you have to report it


  • Confidentiality/Privacy - The names of the shareholders and directors are not part of any public record and are known only to the registered agent


  • Nominee shareholders and nominee directors are available for those beneficial owners who want that extra level of privacy – many expats in Dubai and Abu Dhabi go for this option

How long will it take to set up your off shore asset protection strategy while you are in Dubai?

When all the requirements have been met, an company can usually be incorporated within three working days and courier posted back to you! We have done it in as less as 2 days!

How do you renew your off shore company license?

Once a year, you are required to pay an annual maintenance fee (very small amount) in order to remain in good standing. This fee is due on the anniversary of the incorporation of the company.

#1 reason why most Dubai and Abu Dhabi expats off shore for asset protection?

Because the UAE is a tax free jurisdiction, assets are moved off shore not so much for tax purposes as they are for asset protection purposes. By moving assets off shore to US and UK governed jurisdictions, you are gaining peace of mind as a result of stability and certainty.

In addition, your identity will not be disclosed, and you can enjoy full privacy and confidentiality of your activities and transactions. See, many expats want to avoid the exposure they face in places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Why deal with the local law when there is so much ambiguity? You will never be treated fairly like a local national.

How can we help?

Because of my (Sunil) background as a CPA/CA in the financial services industry, I have worked with several high net worth clients in my career. As I write this article, I am in the process of setting up an off shore company for my businesses as well.

I can assist you in setting up your asset protection strategy by executing the necessary steps required to set-up a company. I can also arrange for a nominee director service with a general Power of Attorney if you are seeking a higher level of personal privacy. I will also assist in setting up various offshore banking and other additional (optional) services are also available if required.


Some of the specifics include the following:


• First year government filing fees.

• Certificate of Incorporation.

• Memorandum and articles of Association.

• Letter of appointment of first director.

• Nominee shareholder (if required).

• Declaration of Trust from the nominee shareholder (if a nominee shareholder is required).

• Minutes of the first meeting of the founders.

• Share Certificates.

• Register of shareholders.

• Register of directors.

• Registered agent services, (first year).

• Registered office, (first year).

• Apostille set of the incorporation documents.

• International express delivery (with the tracking number) by FedEx or DHL.

This will typically cost you around $1,975 USD.



Renewal requirements:

Beginning the second year, I can assist with renewing your documents, specifically including the following:


• Government fees. (Payable annually)

• Registered Agent fee. (Payable annually)

• Registered Office. (Payable annually)


Ongoing annual fees will run you $1,300


This is a very small price to pay for the benefits gained, most importantly your and your family’s peace of mind. So let me know if you are interested in this kind of an asset protection strategy for yourself.

Contact me only if you are serious. There is a wealth of information available online. If you are simply seeking information, I suggest you browse the internet instead. If you are ready to take action, contact me so we can discuss your goals and objectives, and accordingly structure an approach that fits what you are looking to accomplish.

All the best,

Sunil


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