Dubai: The region’s first Wills and Probate Registry launched by DIFC Courts in May for the benefit of non-Muslim expatriates is getting “highly positive” response, Courts’ Chief Justice, Michael Hwang said on Sunday.
The Wills and Probate Registry, a landmark legal initiative of the Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) of the DIFC Courts, was launched to provide non-Muslim expatriates a facility to register English language wills that allow their Dubai assets to be transferred upon death according to their wishes.
Addressing more than 100 lawyers and members of the public at the third DIFC Courts Lecture of 2015, Hwang said the Wills and Probate Registry is based on international common law principles but is designed to be easily accessible to lawyers in the UAE, whatever their professional background.
“The large number of attendees to this lecture is reflective of the highly positive response to the Registry since its launch, and is meant to assist UAE legal professionals in their efforts to ensure they can advise their clients fully on this important new service,” the chief justice said.
Hwang also explained how new DIFC Courts rules set out in RDC Part 55 relate to the functioning of the Registry. Part 55 covers the probate processes through the Courts and are complementary to the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules. Both sets of rules were enacted on April 29, 2015.
According to a statement from DIFC Courts, the rules reflect the spirit of UAE laws, which provide non-Muslims the right to choose the way in which their estates are distributed. The service only covers estates located in the Emirate of Dubai for both residents and non-residents.
The Registry operates under the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts, which handles all probate claims related to registered wills. The objective of the Registry is to give expatriates a legal solution to secure their family’s future after their death.
The Registry creates legal certainty that the testator’s Dubai-based assets will be distributed as set out in their registered wills. The new regime reflects the spirit of existing UAE laws, legal experts said.
The registry is within the DIFC jurisdiction and works with the DIFC Courts for the production of grants and court orders for the distribution of assets. As the grant is issued by the DIFC Court, it is directly enforceable in Dubai without the need to go through the Dubai Courts.
The DIFC Courts Lecture session ended with Q&A session with a panel including Dubai-based legal practitioners who discussed the rule drafting process, principles of wills construction, and the relevance of international laws. The panel comprised Diana Hamade, Founder of International Advocate Legal Services, Cynthia Trench, Principal of Trench & Associates, Alastair Glover, Principal Associate of Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP, and Mihaela Cornelia Moldoveanu, Senior Manager of the DIFC Wills and Probate.
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