Need of will for expats

Need of will for expats

Your WILL shall pave a way for your family even when you are no longer with them!!!

Being a resident of the UAE, have you ever imagined, what would be the fate of the property you owned in this country and money lying in your bank account if you are suddenly no longer alive? Here is what happens. All your money will be automatically frozen.

Your surviving family will have to present every conceivable piece of evidence of relationship to obtain a favorable order from the local court. At a time when everyone is suffering from the loss in the family, your estate’s complexity could result in serious difficulty for your family if you were to die intestate – i.e., without having made a WILL. Even living expenses could be difficult for your near and dear ones. The Property may be handed over to family members, but there’s a chance it may not be allocated as the owner would have wished. Appointment of your minor children could also be not as per your wish but by tenets of Local Law. Legal problems may crop up which may include the surviving relatives requiring to provide proofs of relationships and entitlements in the Sharia Courts. We certainly have to consider the fate of children if they were to lose both parents at the same time. It is absolutely essential that parents make their WILLs as it is the one and only legally recognised instrument through which guardians can be appointed for their children in the event that both parents pass away.

Here is why registration of WILL is a relief to this law. In the UAE, all courts adhere to Sharia Law; however, as a result of the Personal Affairs Law (No 28 of 2005), a non- Muslim expatriate who is a resident in the UAE can opt for the law of their Domicile Home Country to be applied to the distribution of their UAE assets, provided they have a legally recognized WILL. A WILL is a safe pavement you prepare for your existing family so that they are not forced to forego any and all investments you acquired through years of hard work.

Why you need a WILL registered?

  • To obtain Sharia Court order to release an expat’s assets and thereby facilitate the family members to pay unpaid bills and meet ongoing monetary requirements provided all the debts of the deceased are paid off or closed.
  • To protect your investments.
  • To secure the peace of mind of your family members.
  • To appoint guardians to your children.
  • To secure the distribution of assets as per your wishes and to the family members you choose (only in cases of Non- Muslims).

You can select your Domain for Registration

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has specially set up the DIFC WILLs and Probate Registry (WPR) to handle WILLs and Probate for non-Muslims to freely distribute their assets in Dubai and to appoint Interim Guardians by registering a DIFC WILL, which will ensure that Sharia Law will not apply to the testator’s assets in Dubai. Whilst after the testator’s death, the Executors and Interim Guardians appointed in such DIFC WILLs can also apply for the Grants (Court Orders) directly at the DIFC WPR and DIFC Courts.

What we can do before a registry officer at the registry at DIFC WPR:

  • Execution (Registration) of a DIFC WILL
  • Execution (Registration) of a set of Mirror DIFC WILLs (2 Wills, of a Married couple)
  • Execution (Registration) of a DIFC Guardianship
  • Execution (Registration) of a set of Mirror DIFC Guardianship WILLs (2 Wills, of a Married couple)

Dubai Notary Public department under the Dubai Courts allow the authentication of non-Muslim Foreigners WILLs for UAE assets. This has to be drafted Bilingual; English and Arabic, by a Court appointed Legal Translator. An original copy of such WILL shall be maintained by Notary Public on behalf of the Government.

To sum it up, investment for registering a WILL is like taking an insurance policy to secure the future of your loved ones beyond your lifetime; needless to say careful planning can go a long way.

Sunil Ambalavelil | Legal Consultant | Lead Partner

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and for more detailed and specific opinion please write to me on