Expatriates make up around 80% of the UAE’s population, with most residing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The establishment of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Wills Service Centre provides certainty to ex-pats based in the UAE and internationally that they may pass on their assets to their chosen beneficiaries.
TWS Legal Consultants are available to assist and guide you through this process.
Our team of authorised DIFC Wills Lawyers/ DIFC Wills Draftsmen and UAE estate planning lawyers have been advising international expatriates and UAE residents on private client matters for over ten years. TWS Legal Consultants played a leading role in the working group involved in formulating and contributing to the DIFC Wills Service Centre Rules and remain active in the working group to date. We have registered a high volume of DIFC Wills and are experienced in conducting probate cases relating to DIFC Wills with a track record of success.
Our lawyers are registered with the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Dubai Legal Affairs Department and are active members of STEP. We are a fully digital law firm and are able to arrange video conferencing if this suits your needs.
How can TWS Legal help me with a DIFC Will?
DIFC Will drafting and UAE estate planning is our flagship service and are our expertise. We have a diverse and multi-lingual team ready to assist you in preparing your bespoke Will, meticulously detailing your wishes to protect your property and assets for future generations.
Why do I need a DIFC Will?
If you are a non-Muslim and you die without a registered non-Muslim Will, your assets in the UAE will be distributed according to Shari’ah /Islamic law and not necessarily in accordance with your wishes. For example, the most a wife with children can inherit upon the death of her husband is 1/8th of her husband’s assets. A husband in the same position can inherit a maximum of ¼ of his wife’s assets.
Furthermore, joint assets do not pass onto the survivor. Instead, each joint owner is viewed as a shareholder of the asset and the deceased’s share of the asset will be passed onto their surviving family members in the divisions set out under Shari’ah law. In relation to guardianship, Shari’ah law dictates that a husband’s father and then closest male relative would become automatic legal guardians of any children surviving him.
The DIFC Wills Service Centre mirrors the common law jurisdiction of England and Wales and provides for testamentary freedom as opposed to the forced heirship regime under Sharia law.
What are the types of DIFC Wills?
There are five types of DIFC Wills that can be registered:
- Guardianship Will – allows you to register a DIFC Will solely concerned with the appointment of guardians for your children.
- Property Will – for real estate only. This Will allows you to appoint beneficiaries for a maximum of five properties (or a share in up to five real estate properties) situated in the UAE.
- Business Owners Will – you can appoint beneficiaries for a maximum of 5 separate shareholdings in any free zone or UAE onshore company situated in the UAE. The company in which your shares are held must be incorporated in the UAE and established under UAE Federal Law.
- Financial Assets Will – this Will can include up to ten separate bank accounts or shares in up to ten different bank accounts registered in your sole name or in joint names. The account/s must be held with a bank or brokerage firm and the branch in which the account/s are registered must be in the UAE.
- Full Will – encompasses both the distribution of assets and appointment of guardians.
What are the eligibility requirements for registering a DIFC Will?
To be eligible to register a Will with the DIFC Wills Registry you must be:
- an adult (over 21 years),
- have assets in the UAE,
Any children for whom you wish to appoint guardians must be habitually resident in Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah.
Can TWS Legal Consultants register Wills through the DIFC virtual registration system?
As of 22nd March 2020, DIFC Wills can be registered virtually, either by virtual registration ( for specific DIFC Wills) or via video conferencing for full DIFC Wills.
To register a full DIFC Will the testator together with two witnesses, will join a video conferencing call with a WSC Authorised Officer on a confirmed date and time.
Usual procedures will be followed during the video conferencing call of reviewing the Will with the testator, and WSC Authorised Officer at which point the testator and witnesses will then proceed with their signatures on the printed copy of the Will. The signed Will must then be scanned and emailed to the Service Centre for sealing.
Our lawyers will advise and assist you throughout this process.
Let us advise you on DIFC Wills and UAE estate planning. To book a consultation, please contact us: