dubai wills for expats

DIFC Wills: Protect Your Assets in Dubai

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Prior to the launch of Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) Wills and Probate Registry, Dubai Courts would normally apply Sharia law to non-Muslims for the question of how to distribute their assets in Dubai in the event of their deaths.

The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry (“WPR”) is an administrative body that collaborates with the DIFC Courts in the production of grants and court orders for the distribution of assets and as well as guardianship. DIFC is constantly working towards broadening the applications of its regulations and laws nationwide, however the application of the WPR is limited. Only non-Muslims are able to register their wills with the DIFC Wills and Probate Service and only the assets situated in the Emirate of Dubai can be included in such wills.

While wills are a useful way to ensure that your assets are distributed the way you want it to be, they not only need to be in compliance with the DIFC Rules (including the Wills and Probate Registry Rules) but also they cannot be in contradiction with the UAE laws and regulations. Therefore, it is important to have someone with extensive experience and knowledge on how to draft wills that comply with the rules of DIFC and the UAE as a whole.

To register a will, WPR charges certain fees. For a single will, it charges a fee of AED 10,000 on the execution and witnessing of the will before a registry officer at the registry. If you and your spouse are simultaneously executing (registering) two mirror wills*, WPR charges a fee of AED 15,000 on execution of both wills before a registry officer. If you are only registering guardianship wills, WPR charges a fee of AED 5,000 on the execution and witnessing of a single guardianship will before a registry officer and AED 7,500 on the execution and witnessing of two mirror guardianship wills.

While the costs of having a professional draft your will can be more than doing your own will, it is extremely important (both to you and your family) to have wills that are error-free, unambiguous and in compliance with the laws. If you make mistakes in your will, you are not going to be around to explain yourself or to make corrections when the time comes to administer your will. Therefore, it is important to get professional help to write your will.

* Mirror wills are designed for couples (usually a wife and husband) that are nearly identical and which both leave assets to the same beneficiary or beneficiaries.