The DIFC Wills Service Centre is a joint initiative of the Government of Dubai and the DIFC Courts that gives non-Muslims investing and living in the UAE the option to pass on their assets and/or appoint guardians for their children, in accordance with the instructions in their Will.
There are currently five types of DIFC Wills that can be registered, referred to as the
- A Full Will, which encompasses all assets and guardianship provisions
- A Property Will, which can apply for up to five properties in the UAE
- A Guardianship Will, which appoints both interim and permanent guardians for children
- A Financial Assets Will, which applies specifically to bank and brokerage accounts; and
- A Business Owners Will, which applies to free zone or UAE onshore companies
If you own assets jointly with a spouse, ownership would not automatically pass to the survivor, writes Shannon Herriot, DIFC Courts Wills Service Centre. This means that it’s not necessary that after the demise of the testator, the property goes to the survivor.
The ownership of the assets will be given to the beneficiaries after the demise of the testator only if the will is registered at the DIFC Wills Service Center. A Will is a must-do financial future planning which forms a legal document to protect one’s estates and hand it over to the loved ones in case of the sudden death of the testator.
The Will Registration process is also available online which means the will can be registered virtually, while you are at home.
If the deceased does not have a Will, the UAE government states that they will adhere to the sharia law for the asset distribution. This means that the loved ones will not be able to enforce their rights on the assets.
Online Registration of Wills.
Property Wills, Business Owners Wills and Financial Assets Will already have a virtual registry at DIFC. The courts have now started an online service for Full wills.
You can register your will in two ways: one is virtual via video conferencing and the other one is physically visiting the DIFC court.
The Virtual Registry enables those living overseas and in the UAE to create and register a Will using a broadband connection in real-time. Investors and former residents can access the Virtual Registry from anywhere in the world and be connected, via video link, to a Compliance Officer sitting in Dubai.
“The registration of Full wills happens via video conferencing, enabling the service to be accessed remotely from your smartphone, tablet or desktop devices and from the comfort of your home. The system allows the Testator and two witnesses to join in on the video conferencing call from different locations, and further allows an approved Will to be directly uploaded on the system and to affix electronic signatures,” Herriott said.