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UAE Wills 101: Should I Get a Dubai Courts or a DIFC?

Home / Family Law / UAE Wills 101: Should I Get a Dubai Courts or a DIFC?

Moving to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is exciting for those seeking a new experience and a change of scenery. This Middle Eastern country attracts ex-pats worldwide due to its thriving economy and diverse culture. It’s also home to some of the world’s luxurious cities, offering a high standard of living and vibrant social life. 

While it may seem exciting, this new life chapter needs planning, especially when planning your last wills and testaments. You can get a Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Will through the Wills and Probate Registry (WPR) or Dubai Courts. However, knowing what suits your situation can be daunting, especially with the complex jargon. 

If you want to protect your interests after death, this article will explain the significance of getting wills, the two types, and what works best for your needs. 

What Is a Will?

A will outlines your wishes for your assets and property after your death. Expatriates must have written instructions, especially those with more complex financial situations, including property and assets in multiple countries. It will also ensure professionals will distribute your assets according to your wishes, your children are in good hands, and avoid disputes among family members. 

What Happens If I Don’t Get a Will?

If an expatriate in the UAE dies without a Last Will Testament, government officials will freeze their bank accounts and cancel their VISA rule. Besides the deactivation, they may also divide their estate according to an arbitrary formula, potentially transferring assets to distant or unwanted relatives. 

Is Getting a Will Stressful?

When expatriates die in the UAE without written wills, their families may undergo a complicated and stressful legal process. However, the spouse can appeal the appropriation of assets if the process is lengthy. Thankfully, the DIFC’s WPR is now catering comprehensively to expatriates’ legal needs, which has received much support. 

2 Types of UAE Will

You can legally authenticate and record your wills in the UAE at the Dubai Courts or the DIFC’s Wills and Probate Registry, where the two entities mainly differ in their authority area. After explaining why you need a will and determining if the process is stressful, here are the two types of UAE wills all expatriates must know. 

1. Dubai Courts

The Dubai Courts are essential to the UAE’s legal system, enforcing and reflecting the country’s Sharia law. This entity and its various branches handle most of the legal issues. Anybody who registers their wills with the Dubai Courts applies to all emirates.

2. DIFC 

On the other hand, the Dubai International Financial Centre is a financial hub that operates under international law instead of UAE law. People and officials consider it a Freezone because it has an individual court system and independent legal jurisdiction. Registering your will with the DIFC will only apply to Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. 

Should I Get a Dubai Court Will If I Don’t Work or Live In DIFC?

You don’t need to live or work with DIFC to register a DIFC will. However, you must meet specific criteria like not being Muslim, over 21 years old, owning assets in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, and having children habitually residing in Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah.

What Should I Do Next?

Creating a UAE Will is the first and essential step for expatriates to plan their legacy and manage the allocation of their assets. The document must identify the estate’s assets, beneficiaries, guardians for children, and legal issues like trusts. For this reason, you should seek professional assistance and coordinate with a financial advisor. 

Establishing a Stress-Free Legacy

Drafting and getting wills can be challenging, especially if you’re an expatriate in the UAE. You can ensure a stress-free process and find what option best suits your needs by seeking legal assistance and consulting a financial advisor. 

If you’re an expatriate needing help drafting and registering your wills in Dubai, UAE, call Al Kabban & Associates! With a thorough understanding of the legal system and over 30 years of experience, we’re ready to give our clients high-quality legal representation. Contact us now!


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