A Will is a legal document to protect the estates and hand it over to the loved ones in case of sudden demise of the signatory of the Will, it enables to distribute assets, shares, or any valuables according to one’s own wishes provide the legal protection to rightfully distribute the estates, and take care of any minor children at the event of any unforeseen circumstances.

Importance of having a Will in UAE:
In case of an expat living in the UAE, below are some regulations that will be applicable to assets and estates based in the UAE:

- UAE follows Shariah Law for distribution of assets. Non-Muslims, however, are given the option to choose to opt out of the application of the Shariah Law for the distribution of their assets in the UAE.If the signatory does not have a Will, Shariah Law is applied by default to the distribution of all the assets in the UAE.

- In the absence of a Will, the guardianship of children below 21 years of age may be determined by the courts as per the UAE Law.A duly registered Will can ensure the appointment of the wife as the guardian of the minor children.

- For security and safety of the financial assets, bank accounts, other valuables, having a Will is helpful.

- The bank accounts, single as well as joint account will be frozen upon the death of an individual. Hence, for the spouse to have control over the bank account the Will comes handy.

- The dependent's visas are cancelled and will be given a one-month grace period to stay in the country for the proceedings and then leave to the home country. A Will helps in claiming the rights during such instances.

Criteria for Will Registration:

  • You are not a Muslim, and have never been a Muslim (Muslims can register will in Local Court but only for 1/3rd of their assets)
  • You are over 21 years of age
  • You own assets within the UAE
  • Any minor child for which you wish to appoint guardians for, must be habitually resident in UAE

Various options of Will available in UAE:

- Abu Dhabi Court: The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department allows for the Registration of Will by non-Muslims for their UAE assets.
- Dubai Court (Notary Public): These Wills are written in English and Arabic and registered with a notary public in Dubai. These allows registration of Will by non Muslims for their UAE assets.
- DIFC Will: The DIFC law allows non-Muslims to register their Will with the DIFC Wills Service Centre. Wills registered at DIFC Courts now cover resident and investors assets across the UAE, as well as internationally.

There are various Wills available under the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry.

  • Full Will:It covers the distribution of one’s assets in UAE and the appointment of guardians of their minor children.
  • Guardianship Will: It covers the appointment of guardians of the registrant's minor children only.
  • Property Will: It covers up to five real estate properties only.
  • Business Owners Will: The Will cover up to five shareholdings in Freezone or RAKICC (RAK International Corporate Center) companies only.
  • Financial Assets Will: It covers up to 10 bank and/or brokerage accounts registered at a branch that is situated in UAE.

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