Rules are detailed in the UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims, which came into force on February 1, 2023.
Question: I am a non-Muslim Dubai resident with some assets and property in the Emirate. For these Dubai-based assets, is it necessary that I make a Will here? I have already mentioned their distribution in my will back in my home country. Please advise.
Response: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status (the ‘UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims’), the Law No. 15 of 2017 Concerning Administration of Estates and Implementation of Wills of Non-Muslims in the Emirate of Dubai (the 'Dubai Wills Law') and those of DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules (the 'DIFC WPR Rules') are applicable.
The UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims is in force effective from February 1, 2023. A non-Muslim in the UAE may have his or her Will registered where he or she may bequeath it to any person of his or her choice. This is in accordance with Article 11 (1) of the UAE Personal Status Law for Non-Muslims, which states:
“A legator may leave a Will with all his assets in the State to anyone of his/her choice according to the controls set out by the Implementation Regulations of this Decree-Law."
Your beneficiary(ies), as named in your home country Will, need to notarise and legalise the original Will from relevant authorities in your home country and the UAE Embassy/Consulate, located in your home country. Thereafter, in the UAE, the said legalised original Will needs to be attested by UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and, finally, upon completion of legal translation of the said Will, it needs to be attested by UAE Ministry of Justice.
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law and based on your Will executed in your home country, the beneficiary(ies) of your movable and immovable assets may apply to Dubai Court initially to ratify the Will and its contents. Your beneficiary(ies) have to open an inheritance case in the Dubai Court related to distribution of your Estate based in Dubai as per the contents of the Will. The Dubai Court may then transfer your Estate in Dubai to your beneficiary(ies) as mentioned in the Will.
Alternatively, you may consider registering a separate Will in the UAE of your Estate based in Dubai. The said Will needs to say that you are revoking the contents of your previous Will(s) only pertaining to your Estate in Dubai.
Article 6(a) of Dubai Wills Law, states:
"A register known as the 'Register of Wills of non-Muslims' has been created at the Dubai Courts and at the DIFC Courts for the purpose of registering Wills of non-Muslims."
A non-Muslim in the UAE may also register his or her will in accordance with the provisions of DIFC WPR Rules.
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, a non-Muslim resident in Dubai or UAE may register his or her will with the court which has jurisdiction in the UAE, Notary Public or DIFC Wills Service Centre.
News Source: Khaleej Times