Published June 2015
The Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) formally launched the new Wills & Probate Registry (“WPR”) on 30 April 2015. This initiative will no doubt instill greater confidence amongst the Non-Muslim residents and non- residents of Dubai.
To avail of this new set of rules relating to succession and inheritance, all of the following criteria must be met:
Going forward, all new wills should be drawn up in accordance with the WPR rules by a qualified, registered and regulated legal advisor in Dubai. Additionally, any existing wills in relation to assets and minors in Dubai should be amended in accordance with the new rules to provide for better and adequate protection.
Once the will has been properly prepared, an appointment to execute the will at the WPR should be sought. The Testator, intended witness and proposed guardian(s) of the minors (if applicable) should attend the WPR in person (at the given time) to execute the will.
Unique Features and Preventative Measures
As and when required, the Grant of Probate will be obtained from the DIFC Courts, which will work in conjunction with the WPR.
Fees payable to the DIFC WPR
Single Will Registration: AED 10,000
Mirror Wills Registration (spouses): AED 15,000 (AED 7,500 each)
Modifications to an already registered Will: AED 550
Registration of a Will with Guardianship only provisions: AED 5,000
Registration of two Mirror Guardianship Wills : AED 7,500
Grant of Probate: AED 5,500
Given the new rules, it may be timely to holistically review your existing succession plan, as well as update your will to reflect any new assets and additions to your Dubai estate, such as property, businesses, bank accounts, precious jewellery, works of art, cars, investment plans and policies, and determine your beneficiaries and guardians.
For those who do not yet have a will, it is prudent to take advantage of this newly introduced system, which facilitates testamentary freedom for Non-Muslims. If you do not have a will in place (ie. if you die “intestate”), your Dubai assets will devolve according to UAE Personal Status Law, which means that Sharia’ law could be applied.
It is important that you seek local legal advice to avoid the risk of your will being rejected by the Registry. Anjarwalla Collins & Haidermota Legal Consultants is well placed to assist you in navigating the estate planning process in Dubai and preparing your will. We would be pleased to send you a questionnaire and meet with you to discuss next steps, prepare a draft, apply for an appointment with the Registry, and attend with you.
For further information, or to discuss the content of this Legal Alert in more detail, please contact: Sunita Singh-Dalal, Partner (firstname.lastname@example.org or +9714-4529091). You may also visit: www.ach-legal.com