Over 200 foreign residents in Dubai have registered their wills with the Middle Eastern nation’s new Wills and Probate Registry, new figures reveal.
The new registry, launched in May this year, was set up the address the complications non Muslims face in Dubai when they try to enact wills drafted in their own country. Previously, Dubai courts did not recognise wills made outside the country. This meant that expat wills became subject to Sharia law, in which assets are divided in a pre-determined manner among family members regardless of the wishes of the deceased. Challenges by relatives under the old system often involved a lengthy and expensive appeal process with no guarantee of success.
Now, the new system gives confidence to expats that their Dubai-based assets will be distributed according to the terms laid out in their will. Financial experts have said the previous lack of certainty with inheritance meant many expats were wary of building up assets in the country.
Mark Beer is Chief Executive and Registrar of the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC). He said:
“We have received positive feedback from investors, business owners, professionals and residents across Dubai.”
He added that the DIFC has had to recruit additional staff to address the demand for the new service from expats wishing to register their will.
The organisation reports that the first 200 individuals to register under the new system represent a broad spectrum of Dubai’s expat community, including 125 Europeans, 44 of Indian origin and five from other Middle Eastern countries. The remainder originated from a range of other countries in Asia, North American, Latin America and Africa.
The system also allows parents to appoint a guardian for their children in case of their death