DIFC Wills to now cover RAK-based assets

DIFC Wills to now cover RAK-based assets

Wills, Estates and Succession Planning

James Berry & Associates is pleased to report that from January 2017, the Dubai International Financial Centre Wills and Probate Registry (DIFC WPR) shall allow assets based in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) to be bequeathed in a Will registered at the DIFC WPR, thereby providing increased certainty and security of succession for Non-Muslims owning assets in the Northern Emirate.

The 3rd of May 2015 marked a breakthrough for investors who had concerns about the uncertain UAE inheritance laws that could apply to their Dubai-based assets – it was the date when the DIFC, through the Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA), established the Wills and Probate Registry (WPR) under Resolution Number (4) of 2014 signed by His Highness Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC. Today, the DIFC WPR continues to provide a successful mechanism for non-Muslims to register a Will under internationally-recognised common law principles.

Previously, one of the few conditions applicable to a Will registered with the DIFC WPR was that it could only bestow assets based in the Emirate of Dubai. On 12th December 2016, the DRA entered into a series of successful agreements with the RAK government, witnessed by His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, which will allow DIFC Probate Orders to be directly enforced by the RAK Courts. This development will enable DIFC Wills to encompass both Dubai and RAK-based assets. Further details about this exciting development can be found here http://difccourts.ae/publications/rak-overview/. The DIFC guidelines implementing the development are expected to be published by 31st January 2017.

Tasleem Sayani, Head of Wills & Inheritance, and Partner at James Berry & Associates comments, “Projects such as Al Hamra Village have increasingly become an attractive choice for foreign investors offering idyllic waterfront residences or holiday homes at an affordable level. Additionally, the RAK Free Trade Zone offers numerous advantages for business owners including flexibility, easy to follow compliance procedures and low set up costs. This exciting announcement by the DIFC provides a means to ensure that those who have chosen to invest in RAK can now opt-in to a procedure through the DIFC WPR to ensure their investments are protected in accordance with their wishes, if the worst was to happen”.

The Wills and Inheritance department at James Berry & Associates are happy to assist with your estate planning needs and to advise on making a Will that can be registered with the DIFC WPR. For further information, please contact us.