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Expatriate UAE Residents’ procedures regarding Wills

Expatriate UAE Residents’ procedures regarding Wills:

Expats will be delighted to hear that the allocation of the estate of an individual will now take place according to the rules of the country of which the individual is a resident, rather than the application of UAE law (which codifies Islamic Sharia principles on inheritance). However, with respect to UAE real estate, which continues to be subject to UAE rules, an exception to this would still exist if a Will has not been registered in the UAE.

What's changed?

Recently, the Personal Status Act has been amended by Federal Decree No. 29 of 2020.The Civil Code has already been amended by means of Federal Decree No. 30 of 2020.This amendments to the local regime make it possible to apply the local rule of the home countries of UAE resident expatriates to the inheritance of their UAE assets in the lack of a registered will in the UAE.

Assets and Home Country Law:

The following movable property is subject to the new laws, in particular:

  1. Money in bank accounts;
  2. Investments;
  3. End of Service and gratuity payments;
  4. Death in Service benefit;
  5. Company shares;
  6. Vehicles; and
  7. Personal possessions, such as jewelry

Property Registered Will for the UAE

If you possess real estate properties in the UAE, you are expected to create a UAE Will.

The choices open to you are as follows:

Abu Dhabi:

To declare his will with the Judicial Department of Abu Dhabi. A mere AED 1,000 plus VAT is the authority fee; or


File the will under the DIFC List of Wills and Probate, whereby the fee for the DIFC is AED 10,000 plus VAT.

If you are non-Muslim, it will provide legal clarity for the succession of your properties following death and the appointment of guardians for minor children, if any, to have a locally registered will.


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