The DIFC Wills Service Centre (formerly called the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry) has confirmed changes to the rules (the Amendments) which will come into effect from 30th June 2019. This is good news for anyone with UAE assets.
There are two major changes, summarised as follows:
- The rules will no longer be restricted to assets in the emirates of Dubai and Ras al Khaimah as has been the case so far. This means that all assets in the UAE, in any emirate, can now be included under a DIFC will. Note however, that DIFC Guardianship Wills and guardianship provisions in a DIFC Full Will will continue to be valid only for minor children who are habitual residents of either Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah. This means that guardianship provisions for minor children living outside of these two Emirates cannot be included in DIFC Wills.
- Previously, clients were required to bring one witness to their appointment with DIFC Wills Service Centre and the second witness was an authorised officer but following the Amendments, clients will be required to arrange for both the witnesses to their Wills who will accompany the clients to their Wills signing and meeting at the DIFC offices. (Witnesses cannot be a Beneficiary or a Guardian (or a spouse of a Beneficiary or a Guardian) mentioned in the Will.
Anyone who already has a registered DIFC Will, but would like to extend the jurisdiction to reflect assets in other Emirates or assets in other countries that will recognize such a Will, will have the opportunity to amend their Wills at no additional cost but must do so between 30th June and 29th August 2019. In case they wish to extend the jurisdiction of their DIFC Wills to cover their assets in other Emirates or global assets, they will only be able to do so by booking an appointment with DIFC Wills Service Centre by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Any modifications after 29 August 2019 will result in a fee of AED 550 +VAT and must be booked online through the Wills Service Centre’s website as usual.
The DIFC Wills Registry is not required to store hard copies of the registered DIFC Will though in the past anyone making this type of will could not take the hard copy with them. Following these Amendments, there will be an option to take and keep the signed hard copy of the Wills once the Wills Registry has retained the electronic copy, which will be treated as the original Will. Otherwise, the Wills Registry will appropriately shred the documents after retaining the electronic copy of the DIFC Will. For clients who have already registered their DIFC Wills and would like to collect the signed hard copy of their Wills from DIFC Wills Service Centre, they may do so until 31 December 2019.
This is good news and means that many more non-Muslim expats will be able to fully protect their assets in the UAE by writing these secure wills ensuring their dependents are protected and that following death assets can be redistributed in a timely manner.
For more information about protecting your family in the UAE, with the facts that you need to know simply explained, take a look at this article
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