Monday, April 6, 2015

Expats can add their UAE homes and properties to their will

For all those who’d been waiting eagerly for the launch of the DIFC Wills, which will ensure that wishes of testators are carried out even when it comes to immovable property, there’s finally good news.

After being much in discussion, DIFC is finally launching its Wills and Probate Registry by April 30, 2015.

The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry has been established under the jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts, however, it will operate as a distinct entity, as an ancillary body of the Dispute Resolution Authority, the third branch of the DIFC.

By virtue of the new Wills and Probate rules, individuals with assets in Dubai now will have the ability to register will in English language that creates legal certainty for the inheritance of their assets after death. It is a simple and efficient mechanism to pass on their estates according to their wishes, says DIFC.

As per the draft rules, those wishing to use the registry will have to pay about Dh10,000 to register their wills. This is more than double the charges that people incur with a normal will in Dubai and this includes lawyer’s fee, translation and attestation of wills with the Dubai Courts. But, there seems to be good news as the cost of registering a DIFC is likely to come down.

According to Diana Hamade, Attorney at Law & Legal Consultant, UAE Courts & DIFC Courts, International Advocate Legal Services, who is also a member of the drafting panel, revealed that the fee was set up at Dh10,000 but now they are looking into reducing it.

But even with the higher cost, many expats believe this could give them much needed peace of mind as it can reduce legal claims.

As of now, the expat will registered can only safeguard their interest as far as the movable assets are concerned but will fall short if there are any immovable assets in the country.

The Civil Transactions Law of the country applies to real estate inheritance in the county. The same law outlines the procedure. While a sub-article of the said article states that if a person dies in the UAE, then the law of her/his country shall apply when it comes to the disposition of his real estate assets in the country.

However, the subsequent article states that all assets including real estate shall be governed by the UAE law.

However, the DIFC wills are expected to change this. “The DIFC wills will be executed as per the testator’s wish and enforced in DIFC Courts. There is no application of Sharia or law of any sort,” explains Hamade.

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