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Dubai Launches New Wills Registry

On 31 October 2017, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai and the Vice-President of the UAE, decreed a new law, Law No. (15) of 2017 regulating inheritance, wills and probate for non-Muslims.

The new law is intended to provide further options for the probate of assets belonging to non-Muslims in the Emirate of Dubai and create a clear legal framework under Dubai Courts in addition to the existing legal framework under the Dubai International Financial Centre Wills and Probate Registry (“DIFC WPR”). The law aims to provide legal procedures encouraging registration of non-Muslim Wills and management of such assets in Dubai with a view to further increasing investor confidence in Dubai.

The new law also spells out “the liabilities and obligations of the beneficiaries of Wills, the responsibilities and limitations of will executors, the regulations governing inheritance and the distribution and management of the estate as well as appeal procedures. Disputes arising from wills and probate for non-Muslims will be adjudicated by Dubai Courts or DIFC Courts depending on the place where the wills are registered” as per the Government of Dubai Media Office.

It is further understood any non-Muslim Wills registered at the Dubai Courts or DIFC WPR prior to the new law shall remain valid. The Wills Department at Nasser Malalla Advocates and Legal Consultants is closely monitoring further development of the new law and the implementing regulations which are expected to be issued in due course.