Managing your last will and testament can be a tricky affair, especially if you have assets under more than one jurisdiction. For example, if you have assets in both the United States and the United Arab Emirates (or UAE), then local laws apply. And if you have assets in the UAE and you’re a non-Muslim, then probate can get even trickier. Or at least it would have before Sheikh Mohammed issued a recent law regulating probate matters for anyone who isn’t Muslim.
If these matters sound complex, it’s because they are. When estate planning, it’s important to seek legal counsel with a good track record. It’s also important to know where you might want your assets located when you pass away, and that’s why the new law is so important to those who live in Dubai and nearby regions.
The new law specifically ensures that fair legal practice and common law are applicable to everyone, not only Muslims. The overall idea behind the new law is to draw in outside investors. If new residents feel confident enough to register their assets through Dubai, then the money will continue to flow–and that’s certainly good for everyone.
Wills and trusts will no longer be governed by Sharia law, a welcome change for those who don’t adhere to the same beliefs system. Before the new law, the assets of the deceased would be immediately frozen until beneficiaries were contacted. Under the current system, male heirs stand to benefit a lot more from inheritance than their female counterparts. This will no longer be the case.
The new law will create and help regulate a registry in which non-Muslims can manage probate matters directly using Dubai and DIFC courts. These institutions will also coordinate any disputes that may result from those registered.
If there is more than one will registered because of the evolving systems, then the oldest will be taken into consideration. In the event that a will remains unregistered at the time of death, then the Dubai or DIFC courts will navigate the conflict according to the laws put into place.
In addition to the other changes, the registry will help streamline applications for probate. Not only will they be processed more efficiently, but they will be less vulnerable to dispute by those who aren’t legally entitled to an inheritance.
The common law under which these new regulations will be governed is internationally recognized, and will be treated as such by the authorities and court systems when they are implemented.