In the much-cherished bond between non-Muslim expatriates and Dubai, a new link has been forged that will infinitely strengthen this relationship for posterity. A new law on inheritance and wills issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, broadens and eases the way for non-Muslim expatriates to regulate wills and probate according to their wishes. The new law applies in both Dubai courts and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts. This affirmative action will provide immense succour to non-Muslim expatriates.

Given the number of long-staying expats in Dubai with significant asset portfolios, investment bases and property acquisitions, the opportunity to manage their assets and draw up inheritance plans in a manner they wish has been a pressing concern and the law, in its focused addressal of the matter, now paves the way for them. Legal experts in the UAE have long been urging expatriates to draw up a will as a best practice in forward planning because the complications arising from intestate emergencies when away from the native country are legion, particularly for non-Muslims. Now, all those who desisted from undertaking this major task can seek motivation from it to plan and execute their legacy solutions as per their desire.

Marked by realism and clarity, the law spells out the liabilities and obligations of the beneficiaries of wills, the responsibilities and limitations of will executors, regulations governing inheritance and the distribution and management of the estate as well as appeal procedures. Disputes arising from wills and probate for non-Muslims will be adjudicated by Dubai Courts or DIFC Courts, depending on the place where the wills are registered. These are all critical, and immensely helpful, features in the solemn business of regulating inheritance and asset distribution so that families, children and relatives can benefit rightfully from the legacy. This responsibility acquires a heightened urgency as pronounced by the circumstances of expatriate lifestyle and the acquisitions of movable and non-movable assets.

Another commendable aspect of the law is that any non-Muslim will registered at Dubai Courts or DIFC Courts before the law will remain valid. This too is a particularly reassuring approach.

The new law reiterates the UAE’s unstinting support for expatriates and their contributions. In expanding the scope for non-Muslim expatriates to settle their inheritance matters right here, it is truly creating a happy society for all.