Dubai Will Registration: A Comprehensive Guide for Expats and Locals

Rajesh R Pillai


HLB HAMT - Accounting Firm in UAE

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    Amidst the vibrant cityscape of Dubai, where dreams take flight and ambitions soar, it’s essential to safeguard your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out in the event of your passing. This is where the importance of Dubai Will Registration comes into play. Whether you’re a local resident or an expat embracing the city’s dynamic lifestyle, having a will in Dubai is crucial for asset protection and ensuring that your legacy is preserved according to your desires. This blog will shed light on why having a will matters, particularly for expatriates, in this bustling and diverse city.

    DUBAI WILLS: An Overview

    Wills in Dubai is a legally binding document that outlines an individual’s desires regarding the distribution of their assets among family members, friends, or other beneficiaries upon their demise. Even a beloved pet, such as a dog, can be included in the will. Additionally, individuals have the option to allocate funds for charitable purposes.

    Comprising detailed information about the person’s possessions, a will specifies the assets owned and designates the individuals who will inherit a share of those assets. Anyone who realizes their mortality considers creating a will at some point in life. It is particularly crucial if you live abroad and have properties in a different country. In such situations, the straightforward solution is to make a will to ensure your wealth goes to the intended recipients.

    Do you Possess Financial Resources or Assets in the UAE?

    • If your response is affirmative, Shariah law will apply to these assets if you do not have a will.
    • According to Shariah, the following family members are recognized as potential heirs: parents, siblings, spouses, children, grandchildren, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, and nieces.
    • If a close relative wishes to inherit your assets without a will in place, they must engage legal representation and initiate legal proceedings in court.
    • This process is protracted and expensive compared to the alternative of having a pre-attested will.

    What happens if you don’t have a will in the UAE?

    • Your bank accounts, personal and corporate, will be frozen until the court decides how to distribute the money. This process can take months to years, and you won’t be able to access the frozen funds during this time.
    • Joint accounts with your spouse will also be frozen, and your spouse won’t be able to access the funds.
    • Family members’ UAE residence visas could be cancelled.
    • Your close family might not automatically inherit your assets.

    For Women:

    If your husband has a brother and no will, the brother may inherit the wealth.

    • The custody of your small children might become uncertain.

    If your husband passes away, his family may take charge of the kids, limiting legal options to take them abroad.

    • Life insurance might cover your debts instead of benefiting your family.
    • Your family will undergo the probate process in UAE courts, conducted in the Arabic language.

    How to Safeguard your UAE Assets

    For expatriates with wealth in the UAE, it is crucial to contemplate the succession of these assets. The laws of succession for non-Muslims in the UAE lack certainty and, in some instances, contradict each other, making it challenging for expatriates to rely on them.

    • In the absence of a will, the case is brought to court, where the outcome depends on the discretion of a specific judge.
    • The judge must consider conflicting laws governing inheritance, including the Civil Code and the Personal Law.
    • One of the simplest methods for foreign individuals in a Muslim country to engage in succession planning is by creating a local non-Muslim will.

    Expatriate wills in Dubai, introduced by the UAE government recently, have quickly gained popularity among expatriates.


    A will typically encompasses all the assets the individual wishes to include. The primary and frequently requested subjects include:

    • Personal or corporate bank accounts—especially important when opening a bank account in Dubai, as it is advisable to register a will for this account.
    • Real estate property
    • Guardianship of children
    • Registration of wills for UAE companies or shares in companies is increasingly integrated into the business setup process in the UAE.
    • Movable assets

    Corporate Will – A Vital Consideration!

    • In the event of the demise of a UAE company owner, the shares of the company are subject to distribution under Shariah law.
    • It applies to all types of companies: Mainland, Free Zone, and Offshore.
    • It’s important to note that the shares do not automatically transfer to other partners or family members; instead, they are distributed based on Shariah principles, with the majority typically going to the eldest male family member.

    To safeguard your company, consider registering a will.

    Making a will in the UAE

    An expatriate’s will can be officially documented at various locations in the UAE:

    • The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has the authority to authenticate a will for any category of assets located in any emirate of the UAE.
    • The Dubai Courts can validate a will for any type of asset situated in any emirate of the UAE.
    • The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry applies exclusively to assets based in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah.

    HLB HAMT to Assist

    In conclusion, navigating the landscape of wills in Dubai is a crucial step for individuals looking to safeguard their assets and provide clarity for their loved ones in the future. Whether it’s securing your wealth through Dubai will registration or establishing a robust foundation for your business endeavours with Dubai company registration, HLB HAMT stands ready to assist you every step of the way.

    For any related assistance or queries, call our experts at  +971 4 327 7775  or email to schedule a meeting.



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