During these unprecedented times many people are reflecting on whether their own affairs are in order.
For expatriates living in the UAE, the importance of having a valid Will cannot be stressed strongly enough.
As of 22 March 2020, DIFC Wills can be registered virtually, via video conferencing and we have successfully registered wills for our clients using this efficient and very convenient process.
Many local companies are offering to draft and register DIFC Wills; therefore, it can be challenging to know how to choose someone with the experience and expertise to protect you and your family’s wealth and best interests. However, expatriates must exercise due diligence and ask the following questions when selecting a DIFC Wills lawyer:
Are the lawyers regulated by the Dubai Legal Affairs Department?
The Dubai Legal Affairs Department is one of the government departments affiliated to His Highness The Ruler’s Court, providing various legal services to the government and government entities in Dubai. It also oversees the regulation of the advocacy and legal consultancy professions in the Emirate of Dubai.
All legal service providers must be registered with the Dubai Legal Affairs Department. However, unregistered providers still operate and instructing such a legal service provider can result in your Will being invalid and/or your wishes not being accurately ascertained or recorded.
If you have assets in the UAE and wish to create a DIFC Will, it is best practice to use the services of a lawyer who is registered with the Dubai Legal Affairs Department.
Is the lawyer you instruct a registered Wills draftsman?
Under the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Practice Direction of 9 February 2016, lawyers registered as DIFC Wills draftsman should advise on and draft DIFC Wills. The Practice Direction sets out the requirements for registering as a Will draftsman in terms of professional standing, knowledge, and experience in private client work.
Are they a member of STEP or a similar professional body?
Membership of a professional body demonstrates a lawyer’s commitment to abiding by set standards or a code of conduct. The Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a global organisation professional body, comprising of lawyers and other practitioners that help families plan for their futures.
STEP’s website states:
“All of our members are subject to an extensive Code of Professional Conduct, requiring them at all times to act with integrity and in a manner that inspires the confidence, respect and trust of their clients and of the wider community. Our members are also required to keep up to date with the latest legal, technical and regulatory developments. You can recognise a Full Member of STEP by the letters’ TEP’ (Trusts and Estates Practitioner) after their name.”
Professional Wills and estate lawyers understand that their work can have a significant impact on peoples lives. We all want to ensure the wealth we have accumulated over our lifetime benefits our loved ones and/or the causes we support. To ensure your wishes are carried out accurately, take the time to choose a DIFC Wills lawyer who demonstrates a commitment to their craft and their clients’ best interests.
To talk to us about drafting and registering a DIFC Will, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +971 4 448 4284.