By Sarah Townsend
New rules will include immovable assets including property; DIFC in process of setting up register of wills
Expats will be able to register their wills in UAE courts from this May.
They will have the option to register their wills in the Dubai International Financial Centre for around AED10,000 ($2,722), although the cost could be reduced.
Current expat wills only safeguard movable assets such as money, jewellery, stocks and shares, and not immovable assets such land, machinery and fixed furniture.
The new rules include immovable assets – including property, the distribution of which could not be safeguarded in current expat wills because the UAE Civil Transactions Law dictates how real estate assets are disposed.
Diana Hamade, attorney at law & legal consultant, UAE Courts & DIFC Courts, International Advocate Legal Services, who is also a member of the drafting panel, told the Emirates 247 news service: “The DIFC wills for non-Muslims will start around early May 2015. Ideally, the law should have been signed and passed by then. The DIFC is already in process of setting up its register of wills.”
She added: “There is no application of Sharia law [if the testator chooses so].”
Good initiative but I still cannot see how a local Dubai Court will accept a DIFC Will for any immoveable property in onshore Dubai as the DIFC is still, to all intents and purposes, considered a foreign jurisdiction from Dubai law perspective. Yes, there is a memo of understanding between DIFC Courts and Dubai Courts but this initiative still falls short when it comes to real estate in onshore Dubai. The article skims this point and the author does not address it properly other than to make generalised statements which might make good journalism but factually fall short.