Dubai offers expat property owners official online wills

Published:  17 May at 6 PM
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Expats who are property owners in Dubai can now safeguard their investments by making use of an officially recognised online will.

The new will allows expat owners of one to five properties in Dubai to make an online will safeguarding their investments and passing them on to beneficiaries after their deaths. Once the will is made, it needs to be signed by the property owner and registered with the emirate’s Dubai Wills and Property Registry.

Qualifying to use the facility is relatively straightforward and is open to any non-resident or resident owning commercial property, a home or land in the emirate. Requirements are that the owner must be 21 years or more and is not and never has been a member of the Muslim faith. There is no need to consult a lawyer before making the will, although it’s strongly advised should the bequests involve complicated financial and family affairs.

Issues including appointing guardians for underage children, disinheriting close relatives and dealing with personal debts should always involve advice from a qualified lawyer in order that the deceased’s wishes are carried out without any problems. For example, inheritance laws in countries outside Dubai can affect the correct disposal of the estate, even with a will. Such laws are invariably related to domicile rather than to tax residence, meaning that legal advice is essential as regards successions and tax liabilities.

Expats with valuable assets in several countries having diverse inheritance rules are advised to make several wills, each relating to the law in each country as well as a will relating to assets in Dubai. It’s not necessary to go to Dubai to make the new will, but those taking advantage of the facility will need to sign the will in front of witnesses at Dubai’s Wills and Probate Registry offices.

A single will concerning one property is priced at a total cost of £1,533, with further ‘mirror wills’costing £2,044. Expats wishing to use the service should access the Wills and Probate Registry’s website and follow the given online instructions. The site provides a template will and an appointment system for witnessing, and the signing of the document takes place in Dubai in front of a registry officer.
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