COVID-19 – UAE Wills Registration in light of Social Distancing

COVID-19 – UAE Wills Registration in light of Social Distancing

Wills, Estates and Succession Planning

At James Berry & Associates we have experienced an influx of Wills and inheritance enquiries over the last few months.The most common questions enquire as to the possibility of registering local Wills against a backdrop of social distancing and reduced movement around the country in complying with Government-imposed restrictions in place for the safety of all.

In this article I shall summarise the measures currently in place for executing local Wills as well as the steps we at James Berry & Associates have taken and continue to take, to ensure our clients can safely and efficiently continue to register Wills.

DIFC Wills Service Centre (DIFC WSC)

The DIFC WSC allows non-Muslims to register Wills to cover their assets and appoint guardians for minor children. Since its introduction in 2015, the DIFC WSC has registered thousands of Wills for non-Muslim expats and non-residents alike, to ensure certainty of succession and testamentary freedom.

The DIFC WSC was one of the first entities to introduce an efficient and effective mode of remote Wills registration in early 2020 and continues to operate by offering virtual Wills registrations. Clients, witnesses and the DIFC WSC Registrar all join the registration appointment from various locations, ensuring the registration of Wills can be completed regardless of where the parties are located.

At James Berry & Associates, we have assisted a number of clients to register Wills remotely at the DIFC WSC, not only with drafting the Wills, obtaining approval of the drafts by the DIFC WSC and uploading the Wills for signature but also by acting as remote witnesses for the execution of the Wills. 

Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) Non-Muslim Wills Centre

The ADJD Non-Muslim Wills Centre was introduced in 2017 to offer non-Muslims the option to register Wills through the Abu Dhabi Court. Like the DIFC WSC, the ADJD allows clients to determine succession of assets and the appointment of guardians for minor children and has the added feature of dual language Wills being registered (Arabic / English) at the Centre.

Although personal attendance at the ADJD was necessary prior to March 2020, the ADJD now has an effective process in place to allow individuals to register their Wills remotely at pre-arranged appointments taking place throughout the week. 

At James Berry & Associates, we have arranged the remote registration appointments for many clients at the ADJD and can assist with drafting, translating and executing Wills at the ADJD.

James Berry & Associates – Wills services

At James Berry & Associates, we strive to assist clients with putting Wills in place in the most straight forward and efficient manner, aiming to take full detailed instructions in just one meeting and completing remainder of the entire process remotely via email and ‘phone if required. To ensure the safety of our clients, colleagues and lawyers, we now conduct all meetings via video call, using appropriate online meeting platforms, thus removing the requirement for the initial face to face meeting. All subsequent communication is carried out via email and phone. 

*Please note that the modes of operation at the above-mentioned Wills registration centres are subject to change without notice, and are correct at the time of writing.

For further information on our Wills and Inheritance services please contact us.