About Us Executing Wills by Indian Nationals residing in UAE

Consulate General of India


Guidelines for Executing Wills by Indian Nationals residing in UAE with respect to their movable/immovable assets in UAE (as per information made available by ICAI, Dubai Chapter)

About 2.4 million expatriate Indians reside in the United Arab Emirates. It is paramount, especially for those non-Muslim non-Indian residents, to be aware of the new reforms introduced by the Leadership of Dubai designed to protect them, their families and their assets (e.g real estate, bank accounts, cars, valuables etc).

It is imperative to understand that an “Indian Will” or a “Worldwide Will” cannot be relied upon to protect your family or to secure your assets situated in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah.

DIFC’s (Dubai International Financial Centre’s) Wills & Probate Registry (“the WPR”) was inaugurated on 30th April 2015. This landmark step taken by the leadership of Dubai gives the right to both resident and non-resident non-Muslims with assets in the Emirate of Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah to devolve their estate free from the application of Islamic Sharia’ah inheritance principles. In essence the WPR has created an option for non-Muslims to avoid forced heirship principles under Sharia’ah Law.

These new reforms are especially important if one has children under the age of 21, so that should anything happen to him/her, there are clear instructions relating to who will be the interim guardian(s) of his/her children, whilst a permanent family member arrives in the UAE to take full custody of the children. These instructions are known as “Guardianship Provisions” and it is ideal to appoint an interim guardian who is resident in Dubai and who is known to the children.

Additionally, in November 2016, the WPR agreed an extension to the original MOU which it signed with the Dubai Land Department in 2015, which now outlines specific steps for exchanging data and information in relation to real estate transfers made pursuant to a WPR Will, with the primary objective  of making the transfer of title of real estate easier, in the event of untimely death. In fact, it also enables Executors of a WPR Will to effectively block an invalid transfer of real estate should it fall foul of the Probate Order granted by the WPR. Since its inception, many non-Muslims have utilised the WPR to execute Wills and Guardianship Wills.

Frequently Asked Questions :

How does this affect you and what you should do?

Depending on the nature of your assets and your family situation, there are four different types of DIFC Wills that can be registered at the DIFC WPR:

  • The Guardianship Will – used to appoint interim and permanent guardians to immediately and permanently safeguard and protect your children upon your death;
  • The Property Will – used to protect your real estate assets upon your death so as to avoid them being caught by the forced heirship provisions of Sharia’ah Law, but limited to 5 properties in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah;
  • The Free Zone Company Will – used to protect your shareholdings in any Dubai Freezone Company (JAFZA, DAFZA, DMCC, DCCA etc) and/or any Ras Al Khaimah freezone, including RAKICC Companies, but this is limited to a 5 shareholdings in total; and
  • The Full Will – this is used to include both assets and guardianship protective measures and can include unlimited number of properties, shareholdings and assets provided they are situated in the Emirates of Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah.

To ensure that your assets, do not get caught by Sharia’ah law, it is important that you take professional legal advice from a qualified WPR approved Draftsmen who can assist you with preparing a DIFC WPR compliant Will clearly outlining your wishes that should be carried out upon your death.

There is a current list of DIFC WPR approved Draftsmen available on line: www.difcprobate.ae/register-wills-draftsmen/

It is extremely important to seek advice from one of these approved professionals so that your Will is drawn up in accordance with the WPR Rules and is fully compliant and valid.

The General Process

Once one person has chosen his/her professional adviser and given detailed instructions and information about his/her assets (and children) in Dubai and/or Ras Al Khaimah, a draft is prepared and then sent to the WPR for approval. An appointment to execute the Will is made online using the DIFC WPR online booking portal and the adviser will accompany the executants of the Will to the DIFC WPR where the Will is executed in person. Such measures not only ensure that a Will is valid and compliant, but it also reduces the scope of challenges to the validity of the Will at a later date.

Certified copies of the Will are given to the person at the time of his/her appointment and the Will is then digitally stored and encrypted at the DIFC WPR for future reference.

For any changes such as deferred DIFC WPR (required at a later date), these can be done easily by substituting your original Will with a revised version for a nominal fee of AED 550.

Muslim Expatriates resident in the UAE

Any Muslim residing in the UAE, regardless of their nationality, with assets located in the UAE will be bound by the application of Sharia’ah Law upon their demise. Muslims are not afforded the right to opt out of this binding provision. As such, any Muslim Indian national residing in the UAE with property and assets registered under their personal names, will be subject to the strict principles of Sharia’ah Law, which predetermines the distribution of an estate upon death.

While a Sharia’ah compliant will is available for Muslims, these are often challenging to form and their application only applies to a specific proportion of the entire estate, regardless of the nature of the assets. In the event a Sharia’ah compliant will is prepared, the provisions contained within the document do not allow an individual to contract out of Sharia law provisions, regardless of where the will was prepared.

It is strongly advised that any Muslim owning assets in the UAE, seek independent legal advice in relation to any concerns relating to inheritance issues or the application of Sharia’ah law on their estate.

Important : As regards attestation of a Will by the Indian Consulate, the following documents are required:

  • Original Will and a copy of the same
  • Passport in original and its copy of the executants of the Will
  • Photograph of the executant (s)
  • Copy of Residence/Emirati ID Card
  • Executant (s) need to come in person
  • The signatures of witnesses are also to be attested, they also need to come in person along with their original passports along with passport copy and valid UAE Visa copy - separate charges will apply for their signature attestation (mandatory).
  • For charges, please visit the website ivsglobal.ae