Registering Your Will In Dubai
One of the most important documents that one will ever write is a ‘Will’. Will is a legal document, which states to whom the assets, properties or guardianship of children shall be transferred on their demise. In UAE, registration of Will is essential for a non-Muslim expat for the very reason that on the absence of such Will, the assets, properties and guardianship of children will be governed by the Sharia Laws. Let’s get an overview of the options and types of Will registration available within the United Arab Emirates.
Registration of Will in Dubai Courts:
The eligibility to apply Will under the Dubai Courts:
Under the Dubai Courts, the assets for which a Will can be initiated includes, real estate property, monies, investment accounts, insurance policy proceeds, valuable jewelry, cars, bank accounts, personal or other household belongings which are legally owned by the testator. As a general rule, a non-Muslim is governed by the UAE Federal Laws as to the inheritance and succession, especially if the assets are located in UAE. Non-Muslims, may also execute their Wills as per the Laws of their home country. However, for such Wills to be accepted by the local courts, they must be registered with the Will Registries at Dubai and Abu Dhabi or they will be deemed as unregistered Wills. The Federal Law Number 15 of 2017, governing the Inheritance, Wills and Probate for non-Muslims has established a Wills and Probate Registry with Dubai Courts (Dubai Courts Wills Registry) for the purpose of non-Muslims expats to register their Wills and get notarized with Dubai Notary Public for the purpose of executing their Wills, whether within or outside the state.
Recently, the UAE Government has introduced some new amendments to the Personal Status Laws. As per the new changes, the matters regarding the inheritance shall be dealt as per the nationality of the deceased. Matters concerning Wills also shall be dealt according to the law of the country as specified in the Will Documents or where there is no mention of which law, then as per the law of the country to which the deceased is national at the time of death. The matters involving real estate owned in the UAE, shall be governed by the UAE Laws.
Registration of Wills in (DIFC)
Eligibility to register a will at DIFC Courts:
The person who meets the above criteria may apply with legal assistance for the registration of the Wills at the DIFC Courts Wills Registry (the ‘Registry’) as per the requirements.
The DIFC provides for registration of five kinds of Wills, namely:
The DIFC’s jurisdiction is only limited to assets located within Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. The benefit of registering your Will with the DIFC Courts is that you may register your Will in English, whereas in other jurisdictions it is mandatory to register the Will either in Arabic or Bilingual. Before the registration of the Wills at the Registry, pre-registration checks are done by the appointment at the DIFC Courts Wills Service, which are located at several places.
Registration of Wills at Abu Dhabi:
The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), has formed a special entity, ADJD Wills Registry for non-Muslims expats, for the purpose of registration of Wills and to handle all the matters related to the probation of Wills under ADJD. ADJD Wills Registry welcomes any of the seven Emirates to apply for the registration of Wills. The ADJD Wills Registry is based on the principle of testamentary disposition, whereby the Will maker, also called as the Testator, is bestowed with the right to distribute their assets to the person of their choice. It also covers the guardianship of minor children, whereby the testator can either appoint a permanent or temporary guardian to take care of the children in the event of their demise. It is mandatory for the testator to attend in person at the appointment of registration.
The eligibilities to apply under ADJD Wills Registry: