How Does DIFC Help You With Will Succession If You Are a Non-Muslim

How Does DIFC Help You With Will Succession If You Are a Non-Muslim

Lawyers in Dubai

When it comes to real estate in Dubai, there were all these confusions or uncertainties regarding how the will come into the equation when non-Muslims or expats are involved. That has all changed with a series of rules that were laid out by the Dubai International Financial Center or DIFC.

The reason why many hold skepticism in the Dubai real estate law is that it did not allow the Right of Survivorship concept. This means that after the death of a person, his or her land fall under the ruling of Sharia law. We will explain more about in the following sections.

Why are many Non-Muslims and Expats apprehensive about owning assets in Dubai?

Since Dubai did not support Right of Survivorship, this alone made non-Muslims and expats uncomfortable in owning assets in Dubai. There is no guarantee that their offspring would get the assets. So naturally, they tried to take their assets and move them offshore.

However, this does not contribute to Dubai’s economy as it takes money away from it. Concerns were also raised about guardianship of children after the demise of their parents. To make matters even worse, upon death all bank accounts of the deceased will be frozen. Then a liability check will be done in order to see if the person had any debts attached to their name.

After the liabilities have been paid off, the assets will fall under Sharia law. In sharia law, the assets will be will be carefully examined by a ruling body and it will be divided and distributed to the land owner’s family. However, the case will be different if the deceased had a will in place that carefully stated out where their money should go.

How the DIFC made everything streamlined!

On November 16th, 2014, the Dubai International Financial center made a huge announcement that brought back the interest of Non-Muslims and expats back to Dubai. They introduced DIFC and Wills Probate Registry that helped non-Muslims and expats to register a will under it. So now the concerns over the assets not being transferred to the offspring were eliminated.

In essence, with the formation of DIFC, non-Muslims, expats, or residents in Dubai who own assets can decide how these assets would be distributed after their death.

The Dubai government has even gone the extra mile and have partnered the DIFC WPR with the Dubai Land Department and the DIFC Dispute Resolution Authority. This decision paves the way for faster asset transfer without causing any holdups.

Different types of Wills explained

Before we go any further, you must know that there are different types of wills valid in the UAE. Expats and non-Muslims living in the Dubai should factor in their characteristics while choosing one. The following brief explanations will help you have a rough idea on the same.

Guardianship Will: The Guardianship Will pertain to appointing a guardian of your choice for the welfare of your children. The will provides the parents to appoint interim or permanent guardians who may belong to their family or are close friends.

Full Will: As the name suggests, a Full Will covers all grounds such as assets, ownership, and guardianship. The person can choose how their assets should be distributed after their time, and they can include their entire assets in the will without any limitations.

Property Will: The Property Will allows the person to prepare a will for five specific real estate properties that they own. A pre-registration check can be done via appointment at the Wills Service

Business Owners Will: It helps the testator to create a will that encompasses 5 separate shareholdings in any free zone or UAE onshore company situated in the Emirate of Dubai or the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The person must be aware of the fact that the will is only valid if the company in which the shares are held is incorporated into the Emirate of Dubai or the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah under the accordance of UAE Federal Law.

Financial Assets Will: Provides support for brokerage and bank accounts. Ten separate shares or bank accounts registered in the person’s name or jointly owned can be registered in the will. The bank accounts or brokerage shares must be in the Emirate of Dubai or the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and should have approval from a financial institution regulated as a bank by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates or a brokerage firm by the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority respectively.

What results do we have to show for it?

The result of this move by the Dubai government is certainly in the positive as more and more people are now confident in owning property and other assets in Dubai. In the first half of the year 2018 alone, Dubai amassed more than $4.84 billion in foreign investment.

This year, 2019, the trend is only going to continue as investors flock towards Dubai for investments. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the changes made by the government have indeed been well received.

If you are a non-Muslim or expat having trouble figuring out how to register your will with the DIFC or need help in general about the system, then you can always find a helping hand with Al-Nassar Advocates. Our expert lawyers in Dubai will explain everything you want to know about the system and can represent you in court if you need to raise your complaint against a discrepancy. Call us at +97142555110 or send an email to to know more!