Dubai: Can an expat register his will in his home country for UAE assets?

In the Emirates, a non-Muslim may register a will as per his/her choice

by

Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 26 Nov 2023, 8:41 AM

Last updated: Sun 26 Nov 2023, 10:52 PM

Question: I am a Dubai resident with some investments and properties in the UAE. Would I need to create a separate will here for these? Or can I include it in the will in my home country?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are a non-Muslim resident of Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status, Law No. 15 of 2017 Concerning Administration of Estates and Implementation of Wills of Non-Muslims in the Emirate of Dubai and DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules are applicable.

In the UAE, a non-Muslim may register a will as per his/her choice. This is in accordance with Article 11(1) of the UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims, which states, "A legator may leave a will with all his assets in the State to anyone of his/her choice according to the controls set out by the Implementing Regulations of this Decree Law."

Furthermore, a non-Muslim individual may also register a will in his or her home country which includes the executor(s) and/or beneficiaries of his or her investments, properties, movable and immovable properties, shares in entity/ies, bank accounts, credentials/passwords for his or her bank accounts, emails, social media and other matters, jewellery, (the ‘Estate’) based in the UAE.

However, on the demise of an individual who has executed a will which includes his or her estate in the UAE, the beneficiary(ies) or executor(s) as named in his or her will in their home country, need to notarise and legalise the original will from relevant local authorities and the UAE Embassy/Consulate located in the home country of the deceased person. Thereafter, in the UAE, the said legalised original will needs to be attested by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and, finally, upon completion of the legal translation of the said will, it needs to be attested by the UAE Ministry of Justice.

Thereafter, the beneficiary(ies) or executor(s) of the deceased person should open an inheritance case in the Personal Status Court which has jurisdiction in the UAE related to the distribution of his or her Estate based in UAE as per the contents of the will. The Personal Status Court which has jurisdiction to hear the matter may then transfer the Estate in the UAE to the beneficiary(ies) as mentioned in the will.

Alternatively, an individual may consider registering a separate will in Dubai for his or her Estate based in the UAE. Article 6(a) of Dubai Wills Law, states: "A register known as the 'Register of Wills of non-Muslims' has been created at the Dubai Courts and the DIFC Courts for the purpose of registering Wills of non-Muslims.”

A non-Muslim in the UAE may also register his or her will in accordance with the provisions of DIFC WPR Rules.

Based on the above, you as a non-Muslim resident of Dubai may register your will in the Personal Status Court of Dubai, Notary Public or DIFC Wills Service Centre. Alternatively, you may also consider registering a will in your home country for your estate in the UAE.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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