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Will registration

Wills in Dubai

A will is a legal document, which describes a person’s wishes about his assets distribution between his family members, friends or other people upon his death. He can even include his dog into a will if he wants to. Another option is to keep some funds for charity also.

A will has exact details of all the asses the person owns and the names of the people with the shares of the assets they are getting. You can read more on terminology and history of wills here:

Any person who acknowledges his mortality thinks about making a will at some point of his life. It is especially important if you are living abroad and have some immovable assets out of your home country.

In such case a solution seems to be only one make a will and be sure your wealth gets to the right hands.

Do you have money or assets in UAE? 

If your answer is yes, then Shariah law will be applicable to this wealth in case you have no will.

As per the Shariah the following relatives can be considered as heirs: parents, brothers/sisters, spouse, children, grandchildren, grandparents, uncles/aunts, nephews/nieces.

In case your close relative wants to inherit your assets, he or she will need to hire lawyers and open a case in the court in order to become eligible for receiving your funds or other assets. This process is long and expensive in comparison to having an attested will in advance.

What if you have no will in UAE?

These are some of the consequences of not having a will:

  • Personal and corporate accounts will be suspended until the bank receives a court order regarding the money distribution. The court may take a few months to a few years to decide upon your case. You will not be able to use that frozen money during this time.
  • If you have an account jointly with your husband or wife, it will be frozen as well, because the UAE has no doctrine of survivorship it means the surviving party will not be eligible to take the funds.
  • UAE residence visas of family members will be canceled.
  • The assets may not be inherited by your close family

    For women:

    If a husband has a brother and leaves no will, his wealth will go to his brother instead.

  • Custody of small children will be under question

    For women:

    If your husband passes away, the family of your husband is likely to become in charge of the kids, leaving no legal options to take them and leave the country for example.
  • UAE life Insurance may be used to cover your liabilities instead of going to your family members.
  • Your family will face the probate proceedings in UAE courts, which are held in Arabic.

One of our clients was Christian. He thought that if he is non Muslim, the Shariah law will not be applicable to him or his family. His father had substantial wealth and real estate in Dubai. At the age of 71 he had a stroke and shortly passed away without leaving any will. It happened 2 years ago and his family is still struggling with the courts.

How to protect your UAE assets 

If you are an expatriate and have any wealth in the UAE, you should definitely sit down and think about succession of this wealth.

UAE laws of succession for non-Muslims are not certain. They contradict each other in a way. It is hard for expatriates to rely on them.

In the absence of a will, the case goes to court. And in each case everything depends on a particular judge, who has to take into consideration both contradicting laws which govern inheritance:

  • The Civil Code 
  • The Personal Law

One of the easiest ways of succession planning for any foreigner in a Muslim country is making a local non-Muslim will. Expat wills Dubai were introduced by UAE government very recently and already became popular among expatriates.

Types of will in UAE

A will can normally cover all the assets that you wish to include into it. The main mostly demanded subjects are:

  • Bank accounts personal or corporate. If you open bank account in Dubai, register a will for this account. 
  • Real estate property
  • Guardianship of the children
  • UAE companies or shares in the companies will registration is becoming a part of business setup in UAE
  • Movable assets

Also, any will could be:

  • Single from one person to the heirs
  • Mirror from 2 people to each other

Corporate will – it’s important!

If the owner of a UAE company passes away, the shares of that company will be distributed according to Shariah law. It applies to any company: Mainland, Free Zone and Offshore.

The shares will not be automatically passes to the other partners or even family members. They will be distributed according to Shariah the majority will go to the eldest male family member.

Want to protect your company think of a will registration.

If you have a Mainland company with local UAE citizen as a shareholder, upon his death, his shares will be inherited by his heirs according to Shariah law. To avoid it, it is better to have a specific clause in the Memorandum or the agreement between the shareholders to appoint the person who will take over the shares.

How to make a will in UAE

A will of an expatriate can be registered in a few places in the UAE:

  • Abu Dhabi Judicial Department can attest a will for any types of assets in any UAE emirate
  • Dubai Courts can attest a will for any types of assets in any UAE emirate
  • DIFC wills and probate registry will be useful only for Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah based assets

Will registration in UAE requirements

  • You are not a Muslim and has never been a Muslim before
  • You are over 21 years old

Cost of a will in UAE

The costs of UAE wills depend on the authority where the will is going to be attested.

RegistrarPreparation and Translation, AEDPRO Services, AEDRegistration, AEDTotal, AED
DIFC wills service centreAED 3,150AED 535Single: AED 10,000
Mirror: AED 15,000
Single: AED 13,685
Mirror: AED 18,685
Dubai CourtAED 4,150AED 535Single: AED 3,000
Mirror: AED 3,000
Single: AED 7,685
Mirror: AED 7,685
Abu Dhabi CortAED 4,150AED 1575Single: AED 950
Mirror: AED 950
Single: AED 6,675
Mirror: AED 6,675

Time frame

Preparation of a will includes drafting, legal translation into Arabic and actual attestation. Usually 2-3 days’ time is enough for all the procedures.


  • Quick and straightforward inheritance
  • Avoidance of Shariah law
  • Long term family protection


FAQ about wills in Dubai

  • Is it possible to do online will registration?

    Unfortunately not. A will must be registered personally, because it requires attestation and authentication of your signature.

  • Is it possible to do registration of a will after death if it was drafted but not registered?

    No, that would not be possible. In case a will was not registered before death, the assets will be distributed according to Shariah and expatriates will need to go to a court in order to enforce foreign rules on wealth distribution.

  • Is it mandatory to register a will?

    No, it is not mandatory, but will registration in Dubai is advisable. It will help you to avoid future expenses on lawyers and waste of time in the courts.