If you own property, investments, a business or other asset in UAE without a will legally registered in UAE, your assets will be passed on in accordance with sharia law.
A will directs how and to whom your assets are to be disposed. If you do not have a will, the UAE Sharia Law of Inheritance will be automatically applied on your assets after your demise; even if you have a UK or international will.
Only a will registered in DIFC will ensure your UAE assets pass in accordance with your wishes. Ensuring you have a UAE registered will, protects the guardianship of your children if they are in the minor age group.
We plan in so many areas of our lives from planning a family, a career or holiday. But when it comes to our legacy inheritance of our homes and finances as well as planning for a time we only think and delay decisions.
Under UAE law regulating inheritance, wills and probate for non-Muslims by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, “The law, which is applicable to the wills and assets of non-Muslims based in Dubai, including the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), creates a clear legal framework for non-Muslims to create wills according to their wishes. Non-Muslim expats residing in the UAE, may already have a will made in your home country for your assets. But your home-country laws of inheritance may not apply to your movable and/or immovable assets in the UAE, unless you have a registered will recognised as per UAE law.
Without a UAE registered will, upon your demise:
-Dependent visas shall be cancelled -Your bank accounts frozen, regardless if joint or individual accounts -Hard earned assets split in accordance with sharia law and may not stay within immediate family. -Court case appeals can take around five years and result in enormous legal fees -Custody of minor children may go to someone you don’t prefer, or local government will intervene -Bulk of your estate may go to extended family as per Sharia law
How to Get a will in UAE
The DIFC Will: DIFC law allows non-Muslims to register their wills with the DIFC Wills Service Centre. The wills are given effect by way of a simple probate process before the DIFC courts.
If the assets are located within Dubai but outside the DIFC, DIFC court orders will require an execution or 'enforcement stamp' that is applied by the Dubai Courts as an administrative formality. The person nominated in the will called the executor will then be free to administer the estate of the deceased. Due to an MoU between DIFC Courts and RAK Courts, assets located in Ras Al Khaimah can also be covered under the DIFC Wills.
While there are various types of wills in DIFC, the government registration fee for a single full will (i.e. which include both assets and guardianship provisions) is currently set at AED 10,000 plus VAT, while other types of wills carry different registration fees. Couples can register 'mirror' wills covering both husband and wife with government fees starting from AED 15,000.
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