Very significant changes have been made to the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry Rules.
The most important change allows assets from outside of Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah to be bequeathed under a DIFC Will. This exciting new development opens the door for worldwide assets to be included in a DIFC Will, eliminating the need to have separate Wills in different jurisdictions. This should greatly simplify the process of estate administration and considerably enhance the utility of the DIFC Will.
For a limited time (until 29 August 2019) the Wills and Probate Registry will waive the fee for amendment of existing Wills in order to allow existing testators to insert assets from other Emirates or worldwide assets.
Whilst it was previously necessary to have the Probate Director witness the signature of the Will, this requirement has been dropped. The change requires that two witnesses to the Will be provided by the person making the Will. The witnesses must be over 21 years of age and have valid photo ID. It is important to note that the witnesses cannot be Guardians appointed under, or beneficiaries of, the Will.
The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry still stores hard copies of the Wills, but from 31 December 2019, this practice will cease and only soft copies will be kept. In the meantime, it is possible for parties to collect the original copy of any Will from the Wills and Probate Registry.
Hamdan Al Shamsi and Roger Bowden are registered DIFC Wills draftsmen and can advise on any will related matters.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.