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Knowledge Centre - DIFC Wills

Process of Grant of Probate for DIFC Wills

How does the grant of probate work under the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules?

Grant of Probate is a process under which the DIFC Court issues an order containing the details of the distribution of the estate of a deceased person who has registered a Will under the DIFC Wills & Probate Registry Rules (DIFC WPR Rules).

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DIFC Courts are English speaking courts and the DIFC WPR Rules provide a clear and transparent process for the Grant of Probate which can be easily followed by the executors without professional help. The timeframe for the Grant of Probate for a DIFC Will is expected to be roughly about one (1) month but this may vary in practice from one case to the other.

Requirement of Registered Will

Probate of a Will can only be granted by the DIFC Courts in the case where a Will:

  1. has been registered in accordance with the DIFC WPR Rules;
  2. has remained registered at the date of the testator’s death; and
  3. has not been revoked.

Probate of a DIFC Will is typically granted to the executors named in the DIFC Will. If several executors are named in the DIFC Will, one or more of them may apply for Grant of Probate subject to process outlined in the DIFC WPR Rules.

Where to make Applications

Applications for Grants of Probate are made at the DIFC Courts Wills Service (Wills Service). The Director of the Wills Service refers the applications to the DIFC Court after satisfying the requirements under the DIFC WPR Rules.

Who can apply

An application for a Grant of Probate may be made:

  1. by personal application (executor); or
  2. through a probate practitioner duly registered with the Wills Service.

A personal applicant (executor) cannot apply for Grant of Probate through an agent, whether paid or unpaid, other than a probate practitioner.

Order of priority for personal applications

The person or persons entitled to a Grant shall be determined in accordance with the following order of priority, namely:

  1. the executor named in the DIFC Will;
  2. any residuary trustee;
  3. any residuary beneficiary (including one with a life interest)
  4. the executor of any residuary beneficiary (but not one with a life interest);
  5. any other beneficiary (including one with a life interest or one who is a trustee) or any creditor of the deceased;
  6. the executor of any other such beneficiary or creditor of the deceased.

How to apply

An application by a personal applicant for Grant of Probate is made as follows:

  1. the applicant will complete and deliver to the Wills Service an application/questionnaire in the prescribed format;
  2. the applicant will verify the truth of the answers in the manner required by the form;
  3. the application will be supported by a witness statement signed by the applicant in the prescribed format;
  4. the applicant will deliver to the Wills Service such other papers as may be required.

All applications for Grant of Probate of a DIFC Will are required to be accompanied by a death certificate (or a duly authorized copy of the death certificate) issued by the appropriate authority of the place of death. However, in exceptional circumstances, a Grant of Probate may be issued on the fact of death being otherwise proved to the satisfaction of the Director.

If the death occurs abroad, then the Director may request such additional documents as is considered necessary to authenticate and translate the documents.

Administration (with Will annexed)

In addition to the above, the DIFC Court has the power to apply the process of administration (with Will annexed) for Grant where the Grant is issued to a person other than an executor named in the DIFC Will. Where Administration (with Will annexed) is granted, the DIFC Will is performed and observed in the same manner as if Probate of it had been granted to an executor.

For further details of the Grant of Probate process, please refer to the DIFC WPR Rules or contact us and we would be happy to answer your queries.

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