Wills, DIFC vs Dubai Court

When living out here in Dubai and the UAE as an expat, it’s important to not only understand the laws and regulations that apply to you, but to also respect them.

When it comes to your assets here in Dubai there are a number of ways to put in place safeguarding procedures to protect your assets if the worst should happen to you. The concept of Sharia law is a beautiful one; to share among the family. Where it does work beautifully is when all members of the family understand the laws and regulations that apply and there are not complications within the family. Where it doesn’t work so well is when the above is not the case.

If a husband were to pass away, his assets get shared among the family. The wife inherits all of his debt, if he has any, and obtains around 1/8th of his estate. An amount is shared between the children, a son would obtain double of what a daughter would. If the son is below the age of 18 and the daughter below the age of 21, the majority of the assets fall to the oldest living blood male relative on the paternal side.

Having a will in place in Dubai if you are a non-Muslim expat can remove potential complications and safeguard your assets, giving you a choice on who you wish to inherit. There are two procedures available for expats as options if they wish to obtain a will:

  • Lodging a will through the Dubai Court system. If a husband were to pass away here in Dubai, the procedure begins at the courts of first instance where the will shall be highlighted as an appeal against sharia law. It is then taken to the second stages of the court system; the court of appeal. Minimum costs of going through this process are around 75,000 AED. If you do not have assets here that equate to a minimum of 75,000 AED there is no point in going through this process at all. It is important to note that property cannot be included in this type of will. There is not president case for this option. What this means is if there are two very similar situations the outcome would be very similar if not the same. It is important to note that the Dubai court system does not currently have this in place, and the verdict of any situation is highly dependent on how the judge feels on the day, regardless of similarities between circumstances. The costs of going through this process acts as a sliding scale depending on how many assets are included within your will. This could be anything between 4,000AED-6,000AED.
  • Lodging a will through the DIFC court system. This is a recent development within the DIFC which  allows non-Muslim expats to lodge a will according to their wishes as it does not by-pass sharia law. What this means is that non-Muslim expats can divide assets according to 70%UK law and 30% American law. The process initially is more expensive in comparison to the Dubai court system of 12,000 AED to lodge a single will and 20,000 AED to lodge a mirror will. However, going through this process could be a lot easier for expats as everything is done in English, there is a president case present, and this will allows property to be included if it is specifically located in Dubai.

For more information and to book an appointment with one of our specialists:

Call: 045674500

Email: info@finsbury-associates.com

Guardianship documentation, what are my options?

When living and working overseas guardianship is an important aspect of your family protection plan to consider.  Temporary guardianship documentation is an agreement either legal or civil which allows someone to look after your children if you are unable to in the interim period until permanent guardians can come in and take over. There are three types of guardianship documentation…

1) A civil agreement.

It is important to know that this is not a legal document, however there is still a need to have at least this as a minimum form of documentation in place to protect your family if the worst should happen. Finsbury Associates and the KIDS Initiative are lucky enough to be able to offer this document free of charge. The only cost to you would be to get it translated into Arabic at your local typing center.We have never heard of a case where this hasn’t been accepted, however it is at parents discretion as to if they want to take it to step number.

2) A legalised document through the Dubai courts system.

The process of making the temporary guardianship document a legal agreement costs around 2,300 AED to appoint one set of guardians through the Dubai courts system. With the costs of drafting and translating this document being 2,200 AED and a cost of 100 AED to present it to the Dubai courts. Both father and mother of the children in question, as well as the guardians stated in the document need to be present at the Dubai courts with their original passports and emirates ID’s. If you wish to appoint two sets of couples as guardians rather than just the one, total costs of the process will fall around 3,300 AED.

3) A legalized document through the DIFC court system.

The recent developments in the DIFC mean that the process of appointing guardians has become a lot easier for non-Muslim expats who live here in Dubai. The process of appointing temporary guardians in a stand-alone document costs around 7,000 AED. To get this document drafted is around 2,000 AED and to get it registered within the DIFC costs around 5,000 AED. You may consider going through the DIFC court system as opposed to the Dubai court systems as within the DIFC there is something called a president case. This means that if there are two very similar situations the outcome would be very similar if not the same. It is important to note that the Dubai court system does not currently have this in place, and the verdict of any situation is highly dependent on how the judge feels on the day, regardless of similarities between circumstances.

The mot important part of the guardianship process is how you distribute this document once completed, regardless of which process you choose. The idea behind this document is for it to be physically presented by the guardians nominated if an emergency situation were to occur. Therefore it’s important to give physical copies to both guardians nominated, a copy to the nursery/school your child/children attend and also to the HR of the company that sponsors your visa as they would be the first ones to find out if something were to happen.

Kids Initiative Education Fair!

The Kids Initiative have been to the majority of schools and nurseries in Dubai and often get asked by parents what’s the best one to send my child to?

To answer your question we’ve come up with the best schools and nurseries in town for you to view all in one location… The Kids Initiative Education Fair!


Saturday 23rd May

The Change Initiative 

10am – 5pm

Register your attendance at:


Education Fair

DIFC Wills

How will it work? DIFC Wills and Probate Registry

Today marks the launch of the new ‪‎DIFC Wills and Probate Registry, allowing non-Muslim expats to register their last will and testament. But what does this mean? How does it differ from the current system?

How does the current Sharia law will system work for expats?

Current in the Dubai and the UAE unless you have assets significantly over the value of 75,000AED it’s not worth having a will. But why such a large amount? A will is seen as an appeal against Sharia law (the asset distribution) so automatically goes to the court of appeal which costs 75,000AED to action. When we talk about assets this doesn’t include property, this means bank accounts, cars, and jewelry etc. Property is a lot more complicated and is often divided under Sharia Law. Typically a wife would inherit around 1/8th of her and her husband’s estate (including join bank accounts and her own bank account if it’s onshore and she is on her husband’s visa) and a husband would inherit 1/4th of his wife’s estate, the rest would be divided between family members.

What do we know about the new DIFC system?

  • To lodge a will at DIFC it will cost 10,000AED which is significantly cheaper than the current system in the long run.
  • The will CAN include immovable assets such as property, however only assets in Dubai can be listed.
  • Only non-Muslims over the age of 21 can lodge a will at DIFC.
  • The court system is based on 70% British law and 30% American law
  • Guardianship documentation can be lodged with your will, however it is still important to have the stand alone document.


For more information about DIFC wills:

Visit: www.finsbury-associates.com/book-appointment

Call: +971 (0) 45674500

Email: info@finsbury-associates.com