Wills Services

Making a Will is one of the most crucial aspects of life which is mostly overlooked by many people as they are too busy in accumulating wealth, at least thinking about what happens to accumulated wealth after they are gone.

By definition of the word, a Will is a choice that an individual sets.

“A Will is a legal document that spells out your wishes regarding care of your children, as well as distribution of your assets after your death.”

Why do you need a Will?

Many people are not aware of the potential inheritance issues and legal complications with respect to the transfer of assets upon their demise. Failure to have a Will or having a Will that does not clearly reflect a person’s current intentions related to the distribution of his assets can lead to its distribution to unsought persons as well as may face contention by family members and others. Moreover, the assets of the deceased person would be frozen until the entire liabilities have been cleared off and following that his remaining assets will be distributed according to the Sharia Law to the legal heirs of the deceased, which could not always be only the spouse and children but may also include parents, brothers, and sisters because the doctrine of right to survivorship is not recognized in the UAE.

Hence, executing a Will becomes an imperative measure irrespective of age or the quantum of assets individuals have to ensure the transfer of assets in the proportion desired by a person.

What happens without a Will?

Making a will is not a legally mandated requirement. However, if an individual dies without executing a Will (called ‘intestate’ in legal parlance) Sharia forced heirship provision will determine the division of the deceased person’s assets. This means the local courts shall distribute the estate and intervene in guardianship matters according to Sharia rules and principles. In the absence of a registered Will, the distribution of assets could be a lengthy and expensive affair if a person dies intestate.

As per Article 17(3) with the amendments to the UAE Federal Law Number 5 of 1985 concerning the Civil Transactions Code or Civil Code, if there is no registered Will, the laws of the home country of the deceased shall be applicable to the moveable assets.

Article 17(3) of the Civil Code, the inheritance of non-Muslims can be governed by the law of the deceased at the time of death. The only exception is for property owned and purchased in the UAE, which will be managed as per Sharia law or unless there is a written will.

Moreover, the shares of a company do not get transferred automatically to the surviving shareholders in the UAE a probate will be necessary for such transfer in the event of the death of a shareholder without registering a Will. This usually results in a lengthy delay, causing business disruption and even a loss of profit.

Therefore, for UAE residents or expatriates who have invested in moveable or immovable assets or have minor children in the UAE, then it is always advisable for them to register a Will in the UAE as their documented intention to distribute the assets and most importantly to confirm the non-application of the Sharia Law to their assets and to govern the issues related to the guardianship of minor children.

A Will helps to document a guardian for your minor children

Although a Will is predominantly used as a means of asset distribution, it can be used for much wider purposes including nominating guardians for dependents/children to provide for their ongoing care and support. There is a misconception that the wife becomes the automatic guardian of minor children in case of the husband’s death instead Sharia Law would apply in the UAE. Considering this fact, it is of the utmost importance to appoint a legal guardian for your children through a registered Will.

To avoid the forced heirship regime under the Sharia Law it is always advisable to register a Will in the UAE as a documented intention to distribute one’s assets as well as to govern the issues related to the guardianship of minor children. The DIFC Will Service provides a simple and hassle-free mechanism for non-Muslim UAE residents or expatriates to pass on their moveable or immovable assets according to their wishes and appoint guardians for minor children below the age of 21 years.

The DIFC Will Service provide a system ensuring that a person’s UAE assets will be distributed in accordance with the terms of their registered Wills. They are governed by Dubai Law No. 15 of 2017 and a set of detailed rules which establishes a system that combines operational speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness with the certainty of judicial enforcement.

The DIFC Will Service Center offers registration of five types of Wills – Full Will, Property Will, Business Owners Will, Financial Assets Will, and Guardianship Will. Anyone can register a DIFC Will if they are not a Muslim, and have never been a Muslim, they are over 21 years of age, they own assets within the UAE.

Should I seek legal advice?

The Laws relating to Wills are more nuanced and may lead to issues when it comes to avoiding forced heirship rules and enforcing a Will. Seeking the advice of an expert is recommended. We are qualified draftsmen registered with DIFC Courts Wills and Probate Registry and have a wealth of knowledge in dealing with DIFC Wills. We are committed to finding the best and bespoke solutions for your personal needs by offering empathetic and practical legal advice.

Benefits of Registering a Will

  • Proof of your intentions which signifies your wishes to distribute the assets to the beneficiary of your choice.
  • Protect your children by nominating guardians.
  • Avoid unnecessary delays, costs and family disputes.

We specialise in DIFC, ADJD and Dubai Courts Wills and Succession planning and are committed to protecting our clients’ families, wealth and business interests. 

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