Having certainty in relation to succession and inheritance matters is a very important aspect for every individual. One would always want to be sure she/he is fully aware and is fully satisfied with the way her/his legacy would be distributed after death. In order to provide such certainty, the DIFC Court’s Wills Registry for Non-Muslims (“DIFC Registry”) allows non-Muslims with assets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and abroad to register a Will (the ‘’DIFC Will’’). Below is a brief about the DIFC will and what it addresses.
What is a DIFC Will?
DIFC Wills are registered with the DIFC Will Service Registry in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. These Wills are prepared in accordance with the Wills and Probate Registry Rules implemented by the DIFC Courts. These Rules are designed as per the principles of the English Common Law which provide the testator’s complete freedom in choosing his beneficiaries and other aspects of their estate planning after death. This makes it easy for the non-Muslims to opt out of the application of the Sharia Law which would otherwise apply in the absence of a duly registered Will in the UAE.
Who can register a DIFC Will and what assets can be covered under same?
- Non-Muslims over the age of 21 with assets located in the UAE and abroad.
- Any assets physically located or registered in the United Arab Emirates or abroad.
Do you need to be present physically in the UAE to register your Will?
Registration can either be done in-person at the DIFC Will Service Registry in Dubai or online via video conference.
Types of DIFC Will and assets covered under each Will
There are five types of DIFC Will that can be registered:
- Business Owner Will: This Will covers shares held in companies registered in the UAE (limited to 5 separate shareholdings);
- Property Will: This Will covers any real estate properties located in the UAE (limited to five properties);
- Financial Assets Will: This Will covers bank and/or brokerage accounts registered in the UAE (limited to 5 accounts);
- Guardianship Will: This Will covers the appointment of a guardian for children below 21 years old with residence in the UAE;
- Full Will: This Will covers an unlimited number of assets, including real estate, company shares, bank or brokerage accounts in the UAE, without the need to identify them at time of registration and the appointment of guardian for children below 21 years old with residence in the UAE. The Full Will can cover future assets as well.
Risks and consequences of not registering the DIFC Will
If there is no DIFC Will in place, after the death of the testator, his assets in the UAE will be distributed as per the Sharia Law. Under the Sharia Law, assets are distributed to relatives based on blood ties. For example, if a husband or father passes away, only one eighth of his estate will be distributed to his wife, while his son may receive the double of his estate than his daughter, which might not be as per the wish of the testator. With the DIFC Will, the testator can choose his beneficiaries as per his own wishes.
How DTOS can help?
- Assistance with the choice for the type of Will;
- Application with the DIFC Will registry;
- Acting as witness; and
- Acting as executor.
Get in touch with us:
Terry ANTOINETTE, Managing Director DTOS UAE
T. +971 5457 10280
T. +971 (0) 4429 5819
Shamima ISSACK, Relationship Manager DTOS UAE
T: +971 5440 43602
T: +971 (0) 4429 581