Most people agree a will is a good idea, but it often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.

After years of living in Dubai, you may have amassed a certain asset portfolio and wish to secure your legacy for your loved ones. After all, it is not just simply a piece of paper. It’s your gift to your family. Don’t leave the fate of the assets you may have worked tirelessly to create during your lifetime to chance. Be astute, secure your future and rest assured that your investments and the future of your children and loved ones lay in the right hands.

A will includes specific directions on how you wish your estate to be distributed after your death, including provisions for any tangible personal property that you may own – jewellery, furniture, and the like, as well as naming guardians for any minor children.

In a joint initiative with the Government of Dubai, DIFC Courts have established the Wills & Probate Registry to offer residents and non-residents with assets in Dubai a legal solution with the freedom to register English language wills that distributes their inheritance according to their wishes.

Many residents remain unaware that the UAE does not provide the legal comfort of a common law will and that – should the unfortunate case of a death of a family member arise – their assets and guardianship of children will be subject to Sharia law. The Wills & Probate Registry provides a first-of-its-kind service to residents and non-residents living and investing in Dubai to eliminate any perceived uncertainty in securing their assets.

Why women need to act now

In recent years, women have made great strides within the professional environment. From increasingly becoming high income earners to being more involved in the family financial decision-making processes, women in Dubai now share the same need for asset protection as the men do. According to Registry data, over 68 per cent of the wills registered in the first year itself were mirror wills – wills that have been executed equally by husband and wife. This is one of numerous figures that show that women are gradually taking financial and legal matters into their own hands.

Getting started

If you are still reluctant about involving yourself in what may appear to be a tedious, time-consuming procedure, don’t be. The Wills & Probate Registry has created a simple and standardised set of rules that reduces the potential for any disputes on wills after death. To be eligible for will registration with the Wills & Probate Registry, you must be:

  • Non-Muslim
  • At least 21 years of age
  • A holder of assets in Dubai and / or
  • Living with minors in Dubai (if guardianship provision is included in the will)

For the actual drafting of the will itself, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a licensed legal practitioner. It is crucial that such a valuable legal document should include all the necessary details to cover your individual situation.

In a registration process that comprises only a one-hour appointment, you can sign off on the all-important document with witnesses present. If you have determined guardianship for any minors in your will, the guardian may be present or a signed witness statement will be required. The Registry, and yourself, have sole access to the will, which is then stored safely as an electronic document.


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Do not let the cost come between you and your loved ones

The fee for registration of a single will is Dhs10,000 and that of two mirror wills is Dhs15,000. If you only wish to determine guardianship of minors, the fees are Dhs5,000 and Dhs7,500 for single and mirror wills respectively. Although the probate process does not involve any taxes in the UAE, other administrative costs include fixed probate fees and Dubai government fees for transfer of property (held at four per cent to be shared equally between buyer and seller).

To ease payment, DIFC Wills & Probate Registry is partnering with leading national and international banks to offer customers the convenience of several zero per cent payment options. It is designed especially for the benefit of residents and non-residents with Dubai-based assets who are considering will registration but wish to spread the costs. The cost of registering a will is now as affordable as a weekend brunch a month!

Planning and establishing a will should be an essential aspect of everyone’s life in Dubai. Let a lifetime of hard work pay off for all your loved ones. Everything about preparing your will is becoming increasingly easy, so take a step forward for your future and book your appointment online.

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Words: Sean Hird, Director, DIFC Wills & Probate Registry

Image: Getty