Why Do You Need a Will in the UAE?

Why Do You Need a Will in the UAE? | Top 6 Reasons | 2024 Updated

The new legislative changes announced on Saturday 7th November 2020 with reference to Wills have been welcomed by expatriates in the UAE. However, there are misconceptions that a Will in the UAE is not necessary. 

Regardless of the new laws, it remains important to arrange the affairs of your estate in the UAE. Having a Will in place in the UAE would be recommended in light of these developments as it is confirmation of opting into the application of one’s home country’s law as the applicable law and not UAE law. Further despite these changes, a Will in the UAE is the simplest way for an expat to ensure their assets are dealt with as per their wishes particularly where expats are living outside their own home country.  Where expatriates own real estate in the UAE as UAE law applies, it’s highly recommended to have a Will in the UAE. The actual impact will only become apparent once we have had sight of the official legislation, which is not yet available.

In summary, despite these reforms having a Will in the UAE is highly recommended. Here are the top 6 reasons why you should have a Will in the UAE, even if you are an expat:

1) To Protect the Guardianship of Your Children

To protect the Guardianship of your Children by nominating both permanent and temporary Guardians.

2) To Secure Your Property

To protect property, you own – UAE Law applies to real estate owned by expatriates in the UAE and is an exception to the home country laws applying to inheritance matters. You are in control of your assets and to whom they go as opposed to under Sharia Law where the distribution of assets is fixed.

3) To have a Freedom to Distribute Your Assets

You have the freedom to distribute your assets as you wish– you can make specific gifts, ie to a charity. You can stipulate your personal wishes which is not an option under home country laws.

4) For Business Succession Planning

As a business owner, it’s very important to consider business succession planning as part of the Wills process.  Besides designating who is to benefit from your estate or shares, your Will also appoints your chosen executors who are responsible for the administration of your estate on death. It is possible for you to make an appointment with an executor to specifically deal with the business aspect of your estate. If you make a Will you can decide who would be the most appropriate person to manage specifically this part of your estate.

5) Ease of Asset Distribution:

By having a valid Will in the UAE from a practical perspective the Courts in the UAE will be able to deal with the distribution of your assets, bank accounts etc with ease post-death as there is evidence of your intentions.

6) To Avoiding Family Disputes and Gaining Peace of Mind

Avoid family disputes and costly court battles – ULTIMATELY – gives you PEACE OF MIND, that if the inevitable happens, your estate will be distributed in accordance with your wishes.

To safeguard your assets, and family and to avoid any complications it is still highly recommended to have a Will in the UAE as your home country’s laws will not enable you to reflect your own personal wishes, dictate specific asset distribution requirements, or deal with your specific gifts/requests and guardianship wishes. 

It is in the best interest of every expat in the UAE to prepare a Will to secure their family’s future and assets.

Key Considerations for Creating and Maintaining Your Will in the UAE


a) Importance of Using a Registered Lawyer

If you have assets in the UAE and wish to create a Will, it is best practice to use the services of a lawyer who is registered with the Dubai Legal Affairs Department.

b) Selection of Executors and Guardians

Choose your executors and guardians carefully to ensure they are capable and trusted individuals who will fulfil their roles effectively.

c) Proper Signing, Witnessing, and Registration

Ensure your Will is signed, witnessed, and registered properly to validate its legality and enforceability according to UAE laws.

d) Regular Review and Updates

Regularly review your Will, especially in life events such as remarriage or divorce, to ensure it reflects your current wishes and circumstances.

e) Secure Storage

Keep your Will in a safe place to prevent loss or unauthorized access, ensuring it can be readily accessed when needed.

How can TWS Legal Consultants help you with your Wills?

Our team of authorised Wills Lawyers/ DIFC Wills Draftsmen have been advising international expatriates and UAE residents on DIFC/ Abu Dhabi Wills.  We have vast experience in drafting Wills, inheritance matters, Shariah Law, and administering deceased estates for over a decade.

To book your complimentary Wills and guardianship consultation with a Wills Specialist Lawyer please visit our page here

TWS Practice Areas

At TWS, we have vast local experience for over a decade and would be happy to assist you in the following matters:

i) Private Client Services:

Wills & Estate Inheritance; DIFC Wills; Abu Dhabi Wills, UK/Scottish Wills; Administration of a Deceased’s Estate & Probate; Sharia Law and Inheritance issues; Business Succession Planning; Foundations; Family & Divorce Matters; Custody & Guardianship; Financial Settlements; Division of Assets; Travel Bans; Mediation & Reconciliation; Employment Disputes; Property/Real Estate Matters; Gifting of Property; Second Citizenship/Passports; Powers of Attorney and Certification.

ii) Corporate/Commercial Services:

Company Formation and business setups; Drafting/Negotiating of Contracts and Commercial Agreements; Buying and selling A Property/Business; Litigation; Dispute Resolution; Labor Law.

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