Probate in the UAE – A Brief Overview

Probate in the UAE – A Brief Overview

Wills, Estates and Succession Planning

The concept of inheritance may seem daunting to the family members of a deceased, especially in the immediate aftermath. The options regarding probate in the UAE have been outlined below and serves only as a brief overview.

1. Testate Succession:

  • This includes wills registered through both the ADJD (Abu Dhabi Judicial Department) and the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre.) Parties with a vested interest may either reach out to a legal consultant for guidance or may directly approach the ADJD or DIFC.

2. Recognition of Foreign Wills:

  • The establishment of the New Inheritance Court for non-Muslim individuals in Dubai aims to streamline the process, and provide individuals with clear statutory provisions and guidance, to enable them to apply the laws of their respective home countries during the probate procedure. Please click here for brief overview.
  • For a foreign will to be recognized in Dubai, the application lodged must be in the prescribed format, and follow all relevant guidelines set out by the court.
  • In addition, all statutory provisions of the jurisdiction in which the will had been concluded (regulating the probate procedure and wills/inheritance,) now need to be attested and translated in the manner prescribed by the respective home country, and accepted by the local courts in Dubai.

3. Interstate Succession:

  • Intestate succession pertains to the processes in place whereby a person passes away without having concluded a legally valid will. In the UAE, the estate is dealt with in the local courts.
  • Law No. (41) of 2022 on Civil Personal Status, had been discussed briefly in a previous article. This law has been in force as of the 1st of February 2023, and has made huge strides towards intestate inheritance for non-Muslim individuals, and the procedures within the emirate of Dubai especially. For reference, please click here.
  • It must be understood that the line of succession remains unchanged for Muslim individuals in this regard and that Law No. (41) of 2022 on Civil Personal Status has no affect. Sharia law is still applied.

Final Thoughts:

Concluding a legally valid will in the UAE is the simplest method of ensuring that the division of one’s estate is secured.

The information highlighted in this article serves only as a brief overview of the options available, and I encourage anyone who owns assets within the UAE or otherwise to reach out to a legal professional with the relevant authority to provide legal assistance, for example a legal consultant who is registered to provide legal advice within the Emirate of Dubai through the DLAD (Dubai Legal Affairs Department.).

This article is an overview of the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. For specific advice in relation to the above, please contact Romano Xavier Dolbey of the Wills and Inheritance Department