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Knowledge Centre - DIFC Wills

Requirements of signing wills under the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules

What are the requirements of signing wills under the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules (DIFC WPR Rules)?

Any non-Muslim individual over 21 years of age may, upon compliance with the above requirements and payment of the applicable DIFC fee, register a DIFC Will with the DIFC Courts Wills Service (Wills Service).

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The DIFC Wills are required to be prepared:

(a)       in accordance with the form provided in the DIFC WPR Rules;

(b)       in the English language

(c)       in writing;

(d)       executed in front of and witnessed by the Director or an Authorised Officer;

(e)       witnessed also by at least one other witness of the age of majority;

(f)        signed (in person) by the testator;

The testator is required to appoint executors over the age of majority (21 years) under the DIFC Will.

The testator may appoint a guardian (and alternate guardians) for a minor (under 21 years of age) who is habitually a resident with the testator in the Emirates of Dubai/Ras Al Khaimah. This means that the testator cannot appoint a guardian for a minor who is not resident in the Emirates of Dubai/Ras Al Khaimah.

The DIFC Will is required to be be deposited and (at the time of death remain) registered with the Wills Service.

The DIFC WPR Rules shall apply only to such part of an estate as is situated in the United Arab Emirates to which the testator is entitled at the time of his death and a grant will extend only to such part of the estate.

DIFC WPR Rules do not apply to the grant to or administration of an intestate estate or part of an intestate estate.  If a DIFC will does not deal with part of an estate situated in the United Arab Emirates, the administration of, and all matters concerning that part, are to be dealt with by the UAE Courts.

If the testator becomes a Muslim after registration of the DIFC Will, the DIFC WPR Rules will not apply to the DIFC Will and the estate will be administered according to the law of the United Arab Emirates (i.e. Sharia Law).

Any gifts and other dispositions in the DIFC Will (including future gifts and dispositions) shall only be valid to the extent that they are made in favour of persons (including legal entities).  To the extent that they are not, the gift or disposition shall be void.

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