Enrolling a Family Trust Funds in the United Arab Emirates

Family trust funds are legitimate mechanisms developed by families to account for, protect, and manage their resources. They are also designed for strategic inheritance planning and the realization of capital ambitions. Handling of such funds can be conducted either directly by the family or through entrusted people. The possessions inside the fund can be diverse, ranging from real estate and securities to business shares and extra assets.

Key Details of Trusts:

  • Beneficiaries: these can be family members or other interested parties designated to get the fund's resources. They may enjoy revenue from the portfolio's assets and have prospects for their acquisition.
  • Trustees: they can be selected by the family or external experts. Their primary role is to manage the fund's resources in line with the intentions of the beneficiaries.
  • Assets: the portfolio of a trust fund may contain cash, real estate, business shares, and other valuable resources
  • Mission and goals: the reasons for registering the fund can vary, including capital preservation, inheritance, education for future successors, charitable initiatives, and other objectives.
  • Legal form: in different countries, trust funds may have different legal formats, such as trusts, foundations, or companies.
  • Level of involvement: managers may have varying rights and responsibilities, ranging from full control to active family participation.
  • Privacy: in some countries, such funds may have high confidentiality, providing additional protection for families.

In general, family trust funds constitute a flexible mechanism for administering estate and inheritance matters, and their specifics may vary depending on the individual needs of each family.

Origin and current value of trust funds in the UAE

Family trust funds have ancient origins, but their role has become particularly relevant in modern times. In the UAE, these funds have a central role in protecting and strengthening family heritage, enhancing long-term prosperity and development.

Historical context:

The traditions of initiating structures for the defense and transmission of family wealth in the UAE stem from the cultural and traditional nature of the territory. Since ancient times, dynasties in the Emirates have determined on saving their heritage for future successors. With the emergence of modern commercial tendencies and the UAE's entry onto the global stage as a financial giant, trust funds have become instruments helping families navigate the contemporary economic landscape optimally.

Current role:

Currently, family trust funds in the UAE perform certain fundamental functions:

  • Asset management: they serve as a platform to optimize the supervising of family assets, from real estate to business.
  • Inheritance strategy: they assist families in developing guideline for asset transfer, minimizing legal and tax complexities.
  • Charity: funds can contribute to social initiatives by supporting various charitable projects.
  • Risk management: trust funds act as a buffer against various economical and legal threats.
  • Transcontinental investments: the UAE actively expands its presence on the global investment scene, where trusts perform a noticeable contribution to this aspect.

Overall, modern trust funds in the UAE are innovative and multifunctional structures that assure the safeness, strengthening, and range of family capital while also stimulating economic activity in the area.

Why the UAE have become a popular place to enroll family trusts

Legal and tax benefits of the UAE

The establishment and governance of family trust funds in the United Arab Emirates are highly appealing due to substantial legal and tax benefits offered by this jurisdiction. Here are the key advantages of creating a family trust fund in the UAE:

  • Tax benefits: one of the most significant advantages is the 9% corporate income tax in the UAE.
  • Confidentiality: UAE legislation ensures a high degree of confidentiality and saving of personal data for beneficiaries of family trust funds. This means that information about beneficiaries can stay out of record and is not required to be disclosed in public registries.
  • Absence of inheritance taxes: in the UAE, there are no inheritance taxes, making this jurisdiction attractive for families wishing to plan the transfer of their legacy to the next generation without additional tax obligations.
  • Convenient location: the UAE is centrally located, providing easy access to global capital markets and investment opportunities. This guarantees convenience and flexibility for family trust funds in supervising their assets and investments.
  • Solidity and reputation: the UAE is known for its stability and high business reputation as an international financial center. This creates a strong environment for overseeing the estate and investments of family funds.

All these factors make the UAE one of the most attractive choices for families looking to create and register their family trust fund with the purpose of preserving and administering their wealth.

Strength and status of the UAE in the arena of global finance

The UAE, especially its financial hubs, has established itself as an exemplar of stability and entrepreneurship. These characteristics have turned the region into one of the most coveted destinations for global investments and the handling of family trust funds. Let's delve into the strength and status of the UAE on the transcontinental monetary stage in more detail:

  • Consistency: the first advantage of establishing family trusts in the UAE is political and economic resilience. This location is renowned for its reliable political structures and minimal political dangers. The economic status of the UAE is also characterized by stability and diversity, providing a robust foundation for investments and asset management.
  • High standards in financial dealings: the UAE is committed to achieving the preeminent transcontinental approaches in finance. The country emphasizes adherence to international rules and standards, enhancing the trust of stakeholders and fund founders. This encloses strict adherence to illicit finance deterrence and counter-terrorism financing principles.

In the end, the UAE has solidified its position as a place for supervising family trusts, attracting participants from around the world. With its stability, favorable business environment, and commitment to global standards, the region continues to assert its status as a reliable destination for the establishment and management of family funds.

Process of enrolling a family trust fund in the UAE

Basic requirements and documentation





Submitting an application

Fund Registration Application

Official statement for the registration of a fund in accordance with the laws of the UAE. It should provide general information about the fund and its objectives.


Submission of constituent documents

Copy of the foundation's constituent documents

A copy of documents confirming the legitimacy and goals of the foundation. This usually includes the foundation's articles of association.


Appointment of a head

Decision to appoint a fund manager

Selecting a responsible person to control the estate of the fund and comply with its charter.


Confirmation of the manager's identity

Copy of manager's ID

A document confirming the identity of the supervisor and his right to control the fund.


Approval of the charter and goals of the foundation

Family Trust Charter

The main document describing the purposes, structure, rules of the fund. Must be recognized and registered by relevant UAE authorities.


Description of the fund's tactic and aims

Document on the intentions and course of action of the fund

A document detailing the estate a fund intends to manage and how they will be managed.

In light of the given requirements and documents, it is possible to successfully undergo the registration procedure for a family trust fund in the UAE. These steps ensure a lawful and transparent activity of the fund, while also distinctly outlining its intentions and functions.

Enrollment phases and deadlines

Registration stage



Preparation and submission of documents

Collection and preparation of necessary documentation.

Depends on the time of preparation of documents.

Evaluation and approval of the application

Evaluation of the application and submitted documents by the competent authorities. Approval of the registration application.

Usually takes several weeks.

Issuance of license and registration of the fund

Issuance of a license for the operation of the fund and its registration with the relevant authorities.

Depends on procedures and jurisdiction, but may take several months.

The timeline for enrolling a family fund in the UAE can vary based on conditions like the fund's complexity and the chosen judicature. Generally, the complete process spans several months, but precise timelines can be obtained by reaching out to the appropriate authorities.

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Characteristics of various UAE jurisdictions

The UAE offers numerous jurisdictions and financial platforms for establishing family trust funds, each distinguished by unique properties and benefits. Let's take a closer look at a few of them:

  1. DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center):
    • Features: An global monetary hub in Dubai with an autonomous legal system and independent courts.
    • Benefits: For family trusts registered in DIFC, exceptional infrastructure, an investment-friendly environment, as well as a high standard of living and access to global markets are offered.
  2. ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market):
    • Features: A monetary center in Abu Dhabi providing specialized regulation for family funds.
    • Benefits: ADGM provides robust legal protection and stability, along with modern amenities and a favorable regulatory environment.
  3. JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority):
    • Features: A free economic zone in Dubai with tax incentives and simplified registration procedures for companies and funds.
    • Benefits: Family funds registered in JAFZA enjoy tax advantages and flexibility in registration matters.
  4. RAKEZ (Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone):
    • Features: An economic zone in Ras Al Khaimah with a variety of services for business structures.
    • Benefits: RAKEZ provides access to port infrastructure and duty-free zones, which may be relevant for funds associated with trade.
  5. AFZ (Ajman Free Zone):
    • Features: An economic zone in the Emirate of Ajman, offering unique business opportunities.
    • Benefits: AFZ provides tax advantages that may be appealing to funds seeking growth in this region.

In determining a suitable jurisdiction, it is essential to take into account the individual goals and needs of the trust fund, as well as the tax and regulatory policies it prefers.

Coordination and regulation of family trust funds in the UAE

Responsibilities and duties of managers


Comments and details

Compliance with UAE regulations

Managers must follow all applicable UAE rules and regulations, including in the financial and tax areas.

Securing the interests of founders

Heads are liable for achieving the economic and investment goals defined by the founders.

Control over fund assets

Managers' responsibilities include composing investment decisions, monitoring the portfolio, and dividing assets in accordance with the fund's strategy.

Creation of financial reports

Managers must keep accurate books of accounts and inform regularly to beneficiaries on the status of the fund.

Trust Administration Standards

When opening a family trust fund in the UAE, managers are required to adhere to strict standards in trust management and treat the fund's assets with care.

Informing beneficiaries about decisions

Managers are responsible for promptly notifying beneficiaries of important decisions that affect the fund.

Participation in fund audits

In certain circumstances, managers are required to participate in independent reviews and audits of the fund's activities.

Successful supervision of a family trust involves considering the interests of beneficiaries, sticking to local legislation, and following best practices in asset supervision. The position of the trustee is critically important with regard to effective functioning of the fund.

Beneficiary Rights


Comments and details

Right to information

Beneficiaries have the right to receive information about the financial condition of the fund, investments, income and expenses, as well as all key decisions relating to the fund.

Participation in key decision-making

In some cases, beneficiaries may have the right to participate in key decisions.

Protection of rights and interests

Beneficiaries have the right to protect their rights and interests in court, if necessary.

Beneficiaries of family trust funds play a crucial role in the oversight and management of the fund. Their rights and responsibilities are designed to ensure transparency and safeguard the interests of both the fund and its beneficiaries.

Regulatory bodies and their role in monitoring the activities of funds

Regulation of family trust funds in the UAE is overseen by a range of competent regulating authorities and officials, such as:

  • Central Bank of the UAE: acts as the major regulator and supervisor of fiscal institutions, including family trust funds. It develops and accomplishes financial standards and requirements that funds must adhere to.
  • Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA): the DFSA is the regulator for financial services provided within the Dubai Intercontinental Financial Centre (DIFC). It regulates and supervises family funds registered in the DIFC.
  • Abu Dhabi World Market Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) is liable for directing and supervising banking services offered within ADGM. Trust funds registered in ADGM are subject to its regulatory oversight.
  • Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority: JAFZA has the authority to oversee funds registered within this zone.
  • Sharjah Free Zone (SAIF Zone): SAIF Zone adheres to its own set of rules and regulations that are applicable to funds registered within this zone.
  • Ajman Free Zone (AFZ): AFZ holds regulatory jurisdiction over funds registered within this free zone.

The role of these regulatory bodies is to guarantee compliance by family trust funds with legislation and standards, as well as to care for the interests of investors and recipients. They conduct oversight, audits, and monitoring of fund activities, and also develop and implement regulatory acts governing this sphere.

Pros and cons of establishing up a family trust in the UAE

Benefits from tax and asset security perspective



Capital gains tax

Funds can invest and spin off assets without facing taxes on capital gains or sales of assets.

No inheritance taxes

Transferring assets through inheritance in the UAE is tax-free, ensuring a smooth transfer of wealth between generations.

Asset protection

Trust funds help protect assets from outside creditors and legal claims.


The UAE guarantees a level of privacy in which information about the fund and its participants remains secret.

World financial center status

The UAE has the resources and capabilities of an international financial center, providing access to global investment platforms.

These advantages make the UAE one of the best locations for establishing family trust funds, ensuring their long-term reliability and success.

Hazards linked to the political and economic circumstances

  • Political instability: although the UAE is generally considered a stable country, political changes can impact the business environment. Changes in government or political conflicts can cause uncertainty and affect the operations of family funds.
  • Geopolitical perils: the Middle East region, encompassing the UAE, may be susceptible to geopolitical tensions. Conflicts or strained relations with neighboring countries can create additional risks for family funds.
  • Commercial instability: global economic fluctuations can influence the UAE's economy. A decrease in oil prices, on which the country's economy heavily depends, can impact the financial position of family funds.
  • Changes in tax policies: in the future, the UAE may alter its tax policies, including introducing new taxes or changing rates. This can affect the tax benefits associated with the registration of family funds.
  • Global financial crises: global financial crises can have a long-term impact on the investment environment and financial stability of the UAE.
  • Legislative changes: internal and external factors can lead to changes in the legislation regulating family trust funds. These changes may require funds to adapt to new rules and requirements.

Family funds registered in the UAE must take these risks into account and develop strategies to manage them, ensuring their financial stability and resilience in a changing environment.

Comparison with alternative jurisdictions for registering trust funds

Comparison parameter





Tax benefits

No inheritance tax

Low level of taxation for companies

No income tax for international companies

No inheritance tax

No income tax for international companies

No inheritance tax

No income tax for international companies

No inheritance tax

Political stability

The UAE is considered a stable country with a reliable government

Switzerland is known for its political stability and neutrality

Luxembourg is considered a politically stable country in Europe

Singapore has stable political governance and low levels of corruption


The UAE has a good reputation as an international financial center

Switzerland is known for its reputation for financial stability and reliability

Luxembourg is recognized as a financial services center in Europe

Singapore has an excellent reputation as a financial and trading center

Management efficiency

The UAE offers highly qualified managers and modern financial services

Switzerland is known for its financial expertise and human resources

Luxembourg has a developed infrastructure for fund management

Singapore provides high-tech financial services and solutions

Access to global markets

The UAE has a strategic location and access to global markets

Switzerland has wide access to European markets

Luxembourg is a hub for investment in Europe

Singapore provides access to growing Asian markets

Choosing a jurisdiction for registering a family trust fund, investors should consider the aforementioned criteria and align them with their own needs and strategic objectives.


Outlook for the advancement of family trust funds in the UAE

The continued development of the family trust fund institution in the UAE may be driven by the following perspectives:

  • Expansion of tax incentives: the UAE may continue enhancing its tax regimes, making them even more perspective for family trust funds. This could involve further reductions in tax rates or the introduction of additional tax benefits.
  • Legislative improvements: continuous refinement of legislation and regulation for family trust funds can contribute to increased trust from investors and beneficiaries. This may involve enhancing rules for asset transfer to future generations and ensuring transparency in fund activities.
  • Development of financial infrastructure: the UAE may continue investing in the development of monetary infrastructure, including banking services, financial technologies, and consultancy services, making the establishment and management of family funds even more convenient and efficient.
  • Attraction of international investors: the UAE can actively position itself as an attractive destination for international investors, fostering the growth of registered family trust funds in the country.
  • Workforce education: developing a skilled workforce in family fund management can be a key factor for the long-term success of the institution in the UAE. Educational programs and training for managers and consultants could be crucial components of this development.
  • Harmonization with international standards: aligning legislation and norms with international requirements can attract international investors and strengthen the UAE's trust credit as a global financial center.

Considering these perspectives, the UAE remain one of the preferred judicature for the enrollment and administering of family heritage funds, and this may attract even more investors in the future.

Advice for future investors



Familiarization with the laws

Before registering a family trust in the UAE, it is important to carefully research the legal aspects in the relevant jurisdiction, be it Dubai, Abu Dhabi or another region. This will provide an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the investor.

Succession strategy

Such funds often serve as an inheritance tool. It is worth working out a succession plan in advance and including it in the basic provisions of the foundation.

Appeal to the experts

It is important to consult with specialists: lawyers, financiers, as well as auditors who are familiar with the specifics of registering trust funds in the UAE. This will help you make informed decisions.

Elaboration of the charter and goals

The charter of the foundation should be drawn up in detail, which will clearly indicate its tasks, rules and inheritance procedure. This will prevent possible disputes.

Diversification of investments

To alleviate perils, it is recommended to invest in various assets, be it real estate, securities or other investments.

Periodic review of strategy

Based on changes in family needs and the economic situation, it is necessary to adjust the fund's strategy every now and then.

Maintaining openness

It is recommended to maintain openness of the fund's activities and regularly inform participants about its operations and status.

Tax compliance

It is necessary to pay attention to UAE tax laws and comply with all requirements for trust funds to avoid trouble.

Following these guidelines, investors will be able to diligently administer assets in the UAE, adhering to laws and minimizing risks. Our team is ready to provide additional consultations and assistance in setting up a fund. Contact us through the feedback form.