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UAE Foundations and SPVs


UAE Foundations

If you own assets in the UAE, it’s important that you structure them correctly to ensure effective ownership of assets, as well as making sure they get passed onto future generations successfully. Based on the civil law, many UAE residents are opting for a Foundation to structure their wealth and assets.

UAE Foundations are alternative financial planning vehicles for wealth management and asset protection. Many civil law jurisdictions, such as UAE, do not recognise the concept of a Trust but do accept Foundations. The Ultimate Beneficial Owner retains complete control of the assets via a Foundation (rather than transferring the assets outright to the trustee of a Trust).

What are the benefits of a Foundation?

  • Distinct legal personality, unlike a Trust
  • Perpetual existence even after lifetime of the founder
  • Enhanced asset protection and preservation
  • Robust succession planning
  • Assets are separated from family’s ownership and are not subject to probate

What jurisdictions in the UAE can I set up a Foundation in?

  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
  • Ras Al Khaimah International Corporate Centre (RAK ICC)


Special Purpose Vehicles are passive holding companies established for the purpose of isolating financial and legal risk by ring-fencing certain assets and liabilities.

What are the benefits of a SPV?

  • Based on English Common Law
  • No attestation of documents
  • Multiple classes of shares
  • No physical office space requirement
  • No restrictions on nationality of ownership

At Sanctuary, we are here to help effectively set up your Foundation and give valued advice on what Foundation jurisdiction is best for you.

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