UAE clarifies the process for non-Muslim expats to draft wills in Dubai

asmaa - | Arab News

In the multicultural landscape of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), individuals from diverse backgrounds often seek clarity on the legal frameworks governing their personal affairs, particularly in matters of inheritance and wills.

Navigating the UAE's Wills and Estate Laws for Non-Muslims

This article elucidates the pertinent laws and procedures that non-Muslim residents can leverage to safeguard their estates and ensure the smooth transfer of assets in accordance with their wishes.

Understanding legal foundations

Several key statutes anchor the legal landscape for non-Muslims in the UAE, including Federal Decree Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status, Law No. 15 of 2017 Concerning Administration of Estates and Implementation of Wills of Non-Muslims in the Emirate of Dubai, and the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules. These laws provide the essential framework within which non-Muslim individuals can navigate their personal affairs, including matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and wills.

Personal Status Laws

Article 1(1) of the UAE Personal Status Law for non-Muslims extends its provisions to both Emirati nationals and foreign residents, unless individuals opt for the application of their home country's laws regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance, wills, and parentage. This provision empowers non-Muslims to exercise autonomy in managing their personal affairs while residing in the UAE.

Embracing Will Registration

Non-Muslims in the UAE have the prerogative to register their wills in alignment with their preferences. Article 11(1) of the UAE Personal Status Law for non-Muslims affirms the right of individuals to leave a will encompassing all their assets within the state to chosen beneficiaries, subject to regulatory controls.

Navigating Dubai's Legal Terrain

Dubai Law No. 15 of 2017 establishes a comprehensive framework for the administration of estates and the implementation of wills for non-Muslims in the emirate. This legislation mandates the creation of a dedicated "Register of Wills of Non-Muslims" at both the Dubai Courts and the DIFC Courts, providing avenues for non-Muslim residents to register their wills.

Embracing the DIFC Wills Service Centre

The DIFC Wills Service Center offers a streamlined platform for non-Muslims to register their wills, encompassing movable and immovable assets worldwide. Article 9(1) of the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules delineates the prerequisites for registering non-Muslim wills, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards.

Exploring international options

Non-Muslim expatriates in the UAE also have the option to register their wills at the consulate or embassy of their home country, if such services are available. This provides an additional layer of flexibility for individuals seeking to safeguard their assets and ensure compliance with their home country's legal requirements.

Securing transnational validity

While wills registered in Dubai are generally considered valid and binding outside the UAE, it's essential to recognize that their enforceability may be contingent upon the laws of other jurisdictions. Seeking independent legal counsel from one's home country can offer invaluable insights into the cross-border implications of estate planning and will registration.

Empowering estate planning

The UAE offers a robust legal framework for non-Muslims to navigate estate planning and registration with confidence and clarity. By leveraging the provisions outlined in federal and Dubai-specific laws, individuals can safeguard their assets and ensure the seamless transfer of wealth to chosen beneficiaries, both within the UAE and beyond its borders.

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