Residents can now draft and register their will online in the UAE

In order to comply with the current restrictions on travel & movement, the complete process for registering a will has been moved online. Residents can easily make a registered will online in Dubai, which is enforceable within the UAE.

Why is it important to make a will?

Non-Muslim expats with assets (cash, bank accounts, properties) in the UAE should make a will and register it in order to ensure that their assets are passed on to the legally assigned family members or friends or even a legal entity.

The UAE courts adhere to Sharia law and in the absence of a will, the local courts will distribute your estate and appoint guardians according to the principles of Sharia law.

This is why it is important to draft and register a will, which you can do in the UAE at the Abu Dhabi courts as well as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts. During the current restrictions on movement, DIFC Courts have also offered additional will registration services online.

According to Shannon Herriot, Manager and Senior Compliance Officer, DIFC Courts Wills Service Centre, many non-Muslim residents were unaware that there was no concept of the right of survivorship in the UAE, which affects jointly owned assets.

Right of Survivorship: What is it?

When jointly owned property includes a right of survivorship, the surviving owner automatically receives the dying owner’s share of the property.

“In fact, some [expatriates] were even unaware until they considered having a will that if they own property and bank accounts jointly with their spouse, ownership would not automatically pass to the survivor, but instead will be divided according to the UAE’s sharia-based law, whether or not they are Muslim. This can lead to a time-consuming and complex legal process to transfer assets in the absence of a will,” Herriot added.

Thinking of death can be uncomfortable, to say the least. Preparing for it, then, could lead to much more discomfort. However, having prepared for matters after your death can lift a lot of stress off your shoulders.

“Many people feel uncomfortable when it comes to writing or registering their wills, but the point to understand is that the will is not for you. Your loved ones are not required to do guesswork on what your wishes were, or to go through lengthy and costly court procedures,” Herriot said.

How to get started with making a will?

“We would always suggest starting the process by having a conversation with your family members, even if it can feel uncomfortable. Property, shares, bank accounts, cars, jewelry — all need to play a role in taking care of tomorrow and securing this future,” she added.

Do you need to be a UAE resident?

No, as long as you have assets in the UAE or have minor children living with you in the UAE, you can register a will. You can also include your assets from outside the UAE within this will.

Different types of wills

There are different types of wills available through the DIFC Courts Wills Service:

  1. A Full Will, which encompasses all assets and guardianship provisions.
  2. A Property Will, which can apply for up to five properties in the UAE.
  3. A Guardianship Will, which appoints both interim and permanent guardians for children.
  4. A Financial Assets Will, which applies specifically to bank and brokerage accounts; and
  5. A Business Owners Will, which applies to free zone or UAE onshore companies

Property wills, business owners wills and financial assets wills already had a virtual registry at DIFC. The courts have now started an online service for Full wills.

“The registration of Full wills happens via video conferencing, enabling the service to be accessed remotely from your smartphone, tablet or desktop devices and from the comfort of your home. The system allows the Testator and two witnesses to join in on the video conferencing call from different locations, and further allows an approved Will to be directly uploaded on the system and to affix electronic signatures,” Herriott said.

How do I begin the process?

The first step is to reach out to a legal practitioner registered with DIFC Courts, who can draft your will following the basic requirements as laid out by the UAE law.

This is a crucial step, because if you do not fulfill the basic legal requirements, you will would not be enforceable.

You can do so, by clicking here.

Drafting the will is the most detailed part of the process, as you would need to select your beneficiaries, choose the executor of your will, appoint a guardian for underage children and be specific about who gets what. This is another reason you should consider getting a legal expert to guide you through the process.

Once you have drafted the will, you would then need to book an appointment online or via the DIFC Wills mobile app, which is available on Apple AppStore and Google PlayStore.

You would then need to make the necessary payments in order to go ahead with the registration.


The cost of your will registration can vary depending on the type of will. Also, single wills – made for an individual – can cost less compared to a mirror will – which a couple can opt for. Mirror wills are virtually identical wills where one person in a couple leaves their estate to the other in the event of their passing away.

This is the cost of wills as listed by the DIFC Wills Service Centre:

Full Will

(covering all movable and immovable assets)

Single Will: Dh10,000

Mirror Wills: Dh15,000

Guardianship Will

(covering guardianship provisions for minors below the age of 21)

Single Will: Dh5,000

Mirror Wills: Dh7,500

Property Will

(covers shares in up to 5 real estate properties; can be registered in the DIFC Wills Service Centre office or via Virtual Registry*)

Single Will: Dh7,500

Mirror Wills: Dh10,000

Business Owners Will

(covers shares in up to 5 different companies; can be registered in the DIFC Wills Service Centre office or via Virtual Registry*)

Single Will: Dh5,000

Mirror Wills: Dh7,500

Financial Assets Will

(covers shares in up to 10 different bank accounts; can be registered in the DIFC Wills Service Centre office or via Virtual Registry*)

Single Will: Dh5,000

Mirror Wills: Dh7,500

Registering the will

At the registration hearing, which is now being done online, you would need to be present along with two witnesses.

You would need following documents during this process:

• Official IDs of the two witnesses

• Your unsigned draft will

• Your Emirates ID, passport and proof of payment.

Once the details have been reviewed, all parties will be able to affix electronic signatures to complete the process.

How long will the process take?

The registration of a Will in person at the DIFC Wills Service takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour

Reference: Gulf News

To know more about the above service, please get in touch with us on [email protected] or +97142690673

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