Diana Hamade is a lawyer and legal consultant with the Right of Audience before United Arab Emirates (UAE) Courts and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts. The Dubai-based founder and managing partner of Diana Hamade Attorneys at Law is also a columnist, blogger, and author of many writings on UAE law covering Sharia in regard to family law, family business and succession.
Tests faced by wealthy family businesses in the Gulf are usually related to a stock market crash, loss of an investment or, at worst, the sudden death of the family patriarch. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a new and unprecedented challenge.
The ancient religious trust known as the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf is coming back into vogue in Dubai. Not only are waqfs a way for families to set up charitable foundations and launch their charitable funds, they are also popular among family business principals who want to organise their inheritance in confidence.
This has been the debate here—how to convince elder patriarchs that succession planning will fit with their life and afterlife. When they reach their 70s or 80s, they are preoccupied with facing God, not legacy, and so this region is at risk of losing big businesses.
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