Recent Changes to the DIFC Wills Centre
If you’re currently living in Dubai, or are looking to move there in the future, a matter that you should consider is your legacy planning in the form of a will. Why? As we’ve detailed before, if a patriarch unexpectedly passes without a will, all assets and other parts of a potential inheritance for descendants will be subject to Sharia Law and go into probate in the local Emirati court system. In the UAE, estate law is under the auspices of Sharia Law.
How can you avoid this from happening? The DIFC Wills Service Centre, formerly known as the DIFC Wills & Probate Registry can help. There have been some recent changes to this centre, so we will let you know how this will impact your processes.
But first, what is a DIFC will?
A DIFC will at the DIFC Wills Service Centre offers non-Muslims looking to invest and live in the United Arab Emirates the opportunity to pass on their assets and appoint guardians for their children as stipulated in their wills in their countries of origin. The service offers five types of wills to suit your needs such as the Guardianship Will, Business Owners Will, Financial Assets Will and the Full Will. While we will not detail what each of these classes entails as we have already covered this in a prior publication, there is a benefit of using this service. What is it? DIFC wills include all your assets in Emirati territory and, for Brits, lets them be subject to the Common Law of Inheritance. If you’re from another country, then it would be subject to your country of origin’s local estate laws.
The Changes to DIFC Wills Centre Regulations
So, what are the changes to the legislation that we should take into account when amending or drafting up our documents for application to foreign law in DIFC Wills? These developments are ones that we think you will find exciting. These amendments result from the Dispute Resolution Authority Order No. 3 of 2019, implemented changes to The Rules.
Increased Scope in Assets for DIFC Wills
Before 30 June 2019, those who were registering a will in the DIFC could only include assets that were in Dubai or Ras Al-Khaimah. You can now add all assets anywhere in the world. If you already registered a will under the prior rules, you can go ahead and amend it to include your worldwide assets. We can advise on whether the will hold up in other countries’ court systems.
One of the innovations introduced in the new rule changes was that the electronic Will format that the Registry guards for non-Muslims will be considered as the original copy for DIFC purposes. You can get an original hard copy should you need it as the testator.
This change may be more inconvenient for some because while a DIFC Wills Centre officer could serve as a witness, you must now supply two independent witnesses with you to sign your will. What constitutes an independent witness? An independent witness is someone who is not a beneficiary or a guardian in the case of a Guardianship Will or the spouse of a beneficiary.
Are you ready to prepare or amend your will at the DIFC?
If would like to know any information regarding DIFC Wills, such as using an inheritance calculator or probate fees, the Legacy Planning team at Europe Emirates Group is ready to help. Whether it’s a Letter of Wishes, amendments starting your will from scratch, or even safeguarding your original documents in our facilities, we have everything you need to have your affairs in order and avoid an undesirable outcome for your intended beneficiaries. Begin your journey at the DIFC Wills Centre by contacting us today.
CEO, Europe Emirates Group