Inheritance Law Planning in Dubai

If you’re currently living in Dubai or are looking to move there in the future, legacy planning in the form of a will is one of the most important aspects to consider. Why? Keep reading to find out.

As we’ve explained 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 inheritance protocols and go into probate in the local Emirati court system. In the UAE, inheritance law falls under the control of Sharia Law. 

We know that it’s essential to know that everything is determined before the unlikely event of your passing. But 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 and in this article we’ll let you know how this will impact your processes.

inheritance under sharia law

First: What is the DIFC?

The DIFC Wills Service Centre is a initiative of both Dubai’s government and local courts to provide non-Muslim residents of Dubai with the option of using their will from their country of origin as their active one, passing on their assets and appoint guardians for their children as they wish. The service offers four types of wills to suit your needs:

  • Guardianship Will 

  • Business Owners Will

  • Financial Assets Will

  • Full Will

For all the relevant information about these specific kinds of wills, check out this publication

Benefits of DIFC Services

DIFC includes all your assets in Emirati territory and lets British citizens 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. 

Changes to DIFC Wills Centre Regulations

So, what are the changes to the legislation that you should take into account when amending or drafting your documents in the DIFC Will Registry? These amendments result from the Dispute Resolution Authority Order No. 3 of 2019 and are now active. 

Expanded Asset Reach 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. Now, you can 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. And if you have any doubts, you can contact us to see if these additions will hold up in other countries’ court systems. 

Electronic Copies

One of the updates introduced in the new rule changes was that the electronic format that the registry guards for non-Muslims will now be considered the original copy. Should you need it, you can request a physical copy. 

dubai sharia law inheritance

Witnesses

This specific 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 to sign your will. 

What constitutes an independent witness? An independent witness is someone who is not a beneficiary of the will (or a guardian in the case of a Guardianship Will) or the spouse of a beneficiary. 

Ready to Prepare or Amend your Will at the DIFC?

If you would like to learn more about 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 order your affairs and avoid an undesirable outcome for your intended beneficiaries. 

Begin your journey at the DIFC Wills Centre by contacting us today. 

Written by
Adrian Oton


Adrian Oton
CEO, Europe Emirates Group

UAE Setup Guide

Wealth Management and Private Banking
Related Post
Wealth Management and Private Banking 17 September 2016

Where There's a Will...

Wealth Management and Private Banking 25 November 2019

Why You Should Set Up Your Family Office in Monaco

Wealth Management and Private Banking 9 January 2020

What to Know About the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry

Wealth Management and Private Banking 13 April 2020

The Tax Residency Certificate in the UAE: Certainty in Uncertain Times

Wealth Management and Private Banking 20 April 2020

Types of Resident in UAE Income Tax Regulations

Wealth Management and Private Banking 1 June 2020

How to File a UK Self-Assessment Tax Return

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Sign up for our monthly news and updates about company regulations worldwide.