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Wed 7 Sep 2016 01:59 PM

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DIFC Courts launches online real estate will for non-Muslim expats

Dubai residents can now register a straightforward will comprising only their real estate assets

DIFC Courts launches online real estate will for non-Muslim expats

Dubai residents can now register a straightforward will comprising only their real estate assets, under a new initiative from Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts.

DIFC Courts on Tuesday launched an online property will – a simpler version of its Wills & Probate Registry for non-Muslims launched last year, and intended for those expats with minimal assets comprising only, for example, their villa or apartment.

Expats can register the property will for up to five properties, or shares in five properties, but there is no maximum dirham value, Sean Hird, director of DIFC Wills & Probate Registry told Arabian Business.

The document is submitted online and the applicant arranges a meeting at DIFC Courts to get it signed.

The fee is less than for a regular DIFC will that registers the full range of assets – it costs AED7,500 ($2,041) compared to AED10,000 ($2,722), and AED10,000 for a joint husband and wife property will, compared to AED15,000 ($4,083) for the same type of full-asset will.

The DIFC Wills & Probate Registry provides non-Muslim expats with the chance to register their assets and, in the event of their death, have them distributed according to their wishes rather than in line with Sharia principles and law.

Hird said that, to date, 30 percent of will registrations are by Brits, another 30 percent by Indian expats, and the rest by other nationalities in Dubai.

The simplified property will has been launched in response to inheritance concerns expressed by expats and investors, particularly where their sole asset is real estate.

Says Hird: “Since we launched the expat will system last year, it has been highly successful but some people are coming to us and saying, ‘my estate is very simple – it’s really only my villa’.

“The whole process of doing a will is quite long, and the property will is a response to these concerns. It is a cheaper and faster way of registering your estate and ensuring your property is passed to your chosen beneficiaries – if your circumstances merit it.”

The property will was launched on Tuesday afternoon on DIFC Courts’ website.

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