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How to register a will in UAE as an expat?

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00

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Many expatriates in the UAE do not realize the significance of having a Will that is registered legally. If they don't have one, the process of transferring their assets to their rightful heirs after their death can be very time-consuming, and complex.

If you have a registered Will, it can make it easier to transfer your money in bank accounts, end-of-service payments, gratuity payments, death-in-service benefits, investments, personal possessions, property, joint bank accounts, and guardianship of children to your chosen beneficiaries without any legal complications.

In the UAE, a non-Muslim may register their will and leave the inheritance  to anybody they like by naming them as the beneficiaries.

Inheritance in the UAE is mainly governed by two Federal Laws: the Personal Affairs Law of No.28 of 2005, which allows non-Muslim expats to choose the law of their own country for asset distribution in the UAE, and the UAE Civil Code.

According to the new Civil Personal Status which came into action in 1 February 2023, the  beneficiaries, as specified in your home nation's will, must have the original will notarized and legalized by the appropriate authorities in your home country and the UAE Embassy/Consulate, also there. 

You can now register your Will online by having a video conference call with either the DIFC Wills Service Centre or the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department. Before the registration appointment, you will need to upload all the necessary documents and IDs. During the virtual appointment, an Authorized Officer will review the Will with you and witnesses via video link, and complete the registration process.

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has established rules for non-Muslims who own assets in the UAE regarding inheritance and succession matters. This new office provides non-Muslims with assets in all Emirates the option to manage their inheritances. The DIFC Wills Service Centre allows eligible non-Muslims to register their English Wills according to the testamentary freedom codes, giving them the power to distribute their UAE or global assets after their death. Non-Muslims can also have a bilingual Will notarized by a Notary Public in the Dubai Local Courts.

Article 6 (a) of Dubai Wills Law states that a register known as the ‘Register of Wills of non-Muslims’ has been created at the Dubai Courts and at the DIFC Courts to register the Wills of non-Muslims.

The individual making a Will should have the updated details of:

  • Investments in the UAE (with evidence of ownership)
  • Liabilities, and to whom they are to be paid
  • Proof of residency
  • Passport copies of the whole family
  • Additional authorized records such as marriage certificates

After the Will is prepared, it has to be:

  • Translated into Arabic
  • Authenticated by the Dubai Courts or Notary
  • Attested by their Nation's Consulate

It is always recommended to consult a lawyer with expertise and proficiency in drafting the will and succession planning. With proper guidance and support from the legal consultant this tedious process works out in no time.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971526443004

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