3 considerations for registering Wills in Dubai and the UAE
Given the uncertainties involved in having no Will in the United Arab Emirates and having a non-DIFC Will (Notary Public Will), it is important to take into account the following 3 considerations to protect your family and assets and give your loved ones the necessary peace of mind:
1. Implications of having no Wills in the United Arab Emirates
The UAE courts adhere to the Sharia Law in respect of the distribution of assets of all non-Muslim expats who pass away without a Will. So, what does this mean for you? This essentially means that if you are a non-Muslim with family and/or assets in the UAE and pass away without a Will, your wife, children and all other legal heirs will share your estate in accordance with the distribution mechanism devised under the Sharia Law. Your legal heirs could include your parents, brothers and sisters. If you are married, you wife will be entitled to 1/8 of your assets. The probate process adopted by the courts for the distribution of your assets may also be lengthy and costly in the absence of a right Will in the UAE.
Related: Types of UAE Wills
2. Use of English Language in Probate Proceedings
The non-DIFC Wills in the UAE are registered with the Notary Public (Courts). These Wills are typically written in English language and translated into Arabic before registration. However, the process of probate is undertaken in Arabic language at the Courts. If the Will is registered with the DIFC Courts Wills Service (formerly known as DIFC Wills Service Centre), the probate proceedings are held in English language at the DIFC Courts. If you are a non-Muslim with non-Arabic speaking background, it may make sense that you register your Will with the DIFC Courts Wills Service to ensure that your executors find it easier to deal with the court proceedings at the time of probate.
3. Benefits of having DIFC Wills in the United Arab Emirates
DIFC Courts Wills Service (DIFC CWS) has been set up specifically to cater for the requirements of non-Muslims owning assets or residing in the United Arab Emirates. This system of will registration with the DIFC CWS provides the much needed clarity and certainty to the non-Muslims in terms of their ability to pass on all their assets (including real estate) to their chosen beneficiaries as well as the ease of probate process after death. The registration of a Will with the DIFC CWS has the following benefits:
Transfer your assets as you wish
The registration of your Will with the DIFC CWS will provide certainty on the distribution of both moveable and immoveable assets and the appointment of guardians for your minor children as per your wishes. This means that you can pass on all types of your UAE based assets as per your own wishes, which may not be possible through a Will registered with the Notary Public.
Probate Process is simpler, cheaper and quicker
The probate process outlined in the DIFC Wills & Probate Registry Rules (DIFC WPR Rules) is simpler, cheaper and quicker than the process that would typically be followed by UAE courts. The main features of the probate process applicable to the Wills registered with the DIFC CWS are:
(a) The grant of probate is expected to be issued within an approximate time of 30 days of the date of application. This means that your family could have access to your assets before they leave the UAE after the cancellation of their visas. Remember, this is the very time when your family may be in most need to having access to your assets.
(b) The executor (typically your wife) can directly make the application for grant of probate at the DIFC CWS offices without the requirement to hire a lawyer. The proceedings are completed in English language and are easy to follow.
(c) There is a fixed fee of only AED 5,500 payable for the grant of probate.
Find the details of the costs involved in preparing and registering your Will with the DIFC Courts Wills Service and view Sample of the DIFC Will. Order your DIFC Wills now.