The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) introduced the Non-Muslim Wills Registration office in 2018 and since then the service has been popular amongst non-Muslims who own assets in the UAE and wish to control succession of those assets through a valid Will. In addition, a Will registered through the ADJD can include care provisions for minor children, thereby allowing individuals to choose both temporary and permanent guardians to take over responsibility if the worst were to happen.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ADJD has swiftly and efficiently transferred the Will registration services to its online platform, removing the need for the individual to attend at the Court in person in order to register the Will. Upon remote registration of the Will, the ADJD would then courier the original Will to the client at a UAE - registered address.
However, starting from last month, clients who register Wills through the ADJD no longer need to wait to receive their original registered Will by courier as the document is instead uploaded to the ADJD portal and an electronic Will is available to download by the client. The electronic version includes a digital signature certificate, and bears the official stamp of the ADJD. In addition and to ensure confidentiality and authenticity of the document, the certificate has a barcode containing a unique reference number and can be verified via the QR codes provided on the certificate. The electronic Will now replaces the physical Will and is considered as the original by the ADJD.
In our opinion, this innovative move by the ADJD further improves the Non-Muslim Wills Registration Service and makes the entire process more efficient and streamlined for the client by allowing direct access to the registered Will via the online portal. This development, coupled with the nominal ADJD registration fee (AED 950 per Will) makes putting a UAE Will in place easy and accessible to all who wish to ensure their affairs are in order, for the benefit of their loved ones.
Furthermore, as the service is now fully virtual, individuals who are resident outside of the UAE can also register through the ADJD Non-Muslim Wills Registration Service if they own assets in the UAE, regardless of where they are located.
For further assistance and information on making a Will for UAE-based assets and guardianship of minors, please contact Tasleem Sayani
The above is a general commentary on the various matters and should not be construed as specific legal advice.
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