New Dubai Law No. 15 – Nita Maru

New Dubai Law on Non-Muslim Wills and Administration of Non-Muslim Estates in Dubai.

Non-Muslim expats welcome a new law recently issued in Dubai which creates a legal framework for registration and enforcement of non-Muslim wills.  It outlines legal procedures that will encourage expat resident in Dubai or living abroad to prepare and register wills for assets and/or children residing in Dubai with full confidence of the legal protection offered under the new Law. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued law no. 15 of 2017 on 30th October 2017 regulating inheritance, wills and probate for non-Muslims.

The law is applicable to the wills and assets of non-Muslims based in Dubai, including the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The law facilitates and reinforces the creation of a ‘Non-Muslim Wills and Probate Registry’ with a view to develop the regulations, policies and procedures for the registry going forward.

Commenting on ‘The Law for Administration of Non-Muslim Estates in Dubai and Execution of their Wills’, Michael Hwang, Chief Justice, DIFC Courts: “we welcome this new law and applaud the Government of Dubai’s continuing commitment to offering eligible residents and investors the freedom to choose how their Dubai assets are distributed, should they pass away.”

He added: ‘The new streamlined procedure for the enforcement of DIFC registered Wills should now enable probate applications to be processed more smoothly and efficiently. We also believe that the additional clarity that this law brings will bolster confidence for people living, working and investing in Dubai.

The new law ensures Probate Orders follow the same system of execution in the Dubai Courts as used successfully for all other DIFC Court Orders. “

The law stipulates the legal requirements for wills and probate for non-Muslims; liabilities and obligations of the beneficiaries; responsibilities and limitations of executors; inheritance, distribution and management of the estate. Disputes arising from wills and probate will be adjudicated by Dubai Courts or DIFC Courts, depending on the place where the wills are registered.

This law annuls any other legislation that challenges or contradicts its articles.

The author is Nita Maru, Managing Partner TWS Legal Consultants.

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