Ensuring the protection of your assets and the fulfillment of your wishes after your demise is a crucial consideration for expatriates residing in the United Arab Emirates, especially for those who are not governed by Sharia law. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) offers a secure avenue for registering wills, providing individuals with the assurance that their estates will be distributed according to their preferences.
This step-by-step guide aims to simplify the process, emphasizing the importance of legal professionals to navigate the intricacies:
1. Select the type of will you wish to register: DIFC offers a range of will options tailored to different needs. Whether it's a comprehensive full will, a property-focused will, a guardianship will, a financial assets will, or a business Owner Will, choose the one that aligns best with your unique circumstances and requirements.
2. Hire an authorised DIFC wills legal professional: Engaging a certified DIFC wills draftsperson is paramount in ensuring the legal compliance and suitability of your will. Opt for a legal professional based in Dubai, familiar with local probate processes, and consider appointing them or their law firm as the executor of your will for added convenience.
3. Prepare your will: The drafting process involves selecting beneficiaries, appointing an executor, designating guardians for minors, and specifying asset distribution. Your autonomy allows you to allocate your estate according to your preferences, be it to immediate family, extended family, friends, or charitable organizations.
4. Examine and make changes: After the initial draft, review your will and suggest any necessary changes. Your draftsperson will accommodate revisions to ensure the document accurately reflects your wishes and meets legal standards.
5. Register with the DIFC wills service center (DIFC wills service): Upon finalizing your will, it will be uploaded to the DIFC Wills Service platform. The legal team at DIFC Wills Service will verify its compliance before scheduling an appointment for registration purpose, via video conferencing for the convenience of frequent travelers.
6. Signatures by testator and witnesses: During the registration process, two adult witnesses (independent of beneficiaries) must be present for your signature. Acceptable identification, such as a passport or Emirates ID, is required. Optionally, you can choose witnesses from the law firm that drafted your Will.
7. The final stage: With your Will uploaded, witnessed, and registered, you can rest assured that your wishes are legally acknowledged. Your designated executor will execute your directives following your demise. After registration, it is important to regularly review and update your Will with your designated draftsperson if any changes to your wishes occur.
The DIFC Courts has evolved into one of the world's most extensive will registries, providing a valuable avenue for inheritance planning and asset protection. By following this step-by-step guide and adhering to the necessary prerequisites, you can draft a legally sound will that brings peace of mind for yourself and your family, safeguarding your legacy for generations to come.