I have a 12-year-old son and would like to open a bank account for him. I have been to a couple of banks, but I have been told that as his mother I cannot do this and that accounts can only be opened by his father. They wouldn't tell me if this is bank policy or law, but either way it is not convenient as my husband travels outside of the UAE a great deal and does not have the time to deal with this. Is there a way around this? CK, Abu Dhabi
It is a UAE Central Bank regulation that women cannot open bank accounts for their children even if they are the child’s sponsors or custodians. Only fathers can open bank accounts for their children as they are deemed to be their natural guardians or custodians under the Central Bank’s interpretation of Sharia law. The regulations state that banks may only open accounts for individuals who are aged 21 or over. Alternatively, if a customer is aged 18 and employed by a government or semi-government entity, they may open their own account. Under those ages, assistance from an appropriate parent or guardian is required. Once an account has been set up on behalf of a minor by the father, the father can then provide a Power of Attorney so that the mother can manage the account on an ongoing basis without the father being present. Although the bank should take a copy of the Power of Attorney, it is likely that the original will need to be produced for each transaction.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.
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