Having a will and performing the probate process is vital to protect the assets and the legal affairs of a family. Doing so is even more vital if you are a foreigner residing in the UAE since the consequence of not being prepared can have implications for your family and dependents. Today, we will teach you what is probate and everything you need to know to carry out this process.
In this article, you will find information about the aspects of probate in the UAE, the cost, the expected time to complete it, the probate process in different zones in the UAE, and also how we can help you go through this process.
- What is probate?
- What is a grant of probate?
- How is the process in the UAE?
- Aspects about the probate process in the UAE
- Probate process for a Muslim will in the courts of Abu Dhabi
- Probate process for a non-Muslim will in the courts of Abu Dhabi
- How is this process in DIFC?
- The process in Dubai Courts Will Registry
- Benefits of seeking counsel
- How can we help you know more about these procedures?
1. What is probate?
Probate is the entire process of managing a dead person’s state. This includes organizing your assets, money, and possessions. And distribute it as an inheritance (after paying debts and taxes). The probate process can take some time, it mainly depends on the size of the estate.
In most cases, the selection of an executor is ready. This person is in charge of overseeing the probate process. You generally have thirty days from the date of the will owner’s death to complete the document with the local probate court. If the decedent dies without specifying an executor or directly dies without a will, the probate court will assign an administrator who will be in charge of overseeing the probate process. This role generally falls on the next of kin.
However, a designed administrator or a named executor can always decline the responsibility. In these cases, the court chooses another person. The person overseeing probate must prove to the court that the will is valid.
The probate process includes the following:
- Having the property appraised
- Identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property
- Paying debts and taxes
- Distributing the remaining property as the will directs
2. What is a grant of probate?
A Grant of Probate is a legal document that gives the executor the authority to manage the deceased’s property. This document is only called a grant of probate if the person left will. If it did not, then you must use a grant of letters of administration instead. Both documents fulfill the same function, to give legal power to a person to manage the estate of a person who passed away.
The probate process ends when you pay all debts and taxes and all the inheritance goes to its rightful owners.
3. How is the process in the UAE?
Every will and every estate is different. The probate process may vary depending on the instructions written in the will and the creditors, assets, and beneficiaries that the estate has.
The basic steps of an executor are the following:
- Gather all the details about the debts and the estate’s assets
- Apply for the grant of probate
- Complete the inheritance tax return and pay any tax due
- Receive the grant of probate
- Pay any of the deceased outstanding debts
- Distribute the assets according to the instructions written in the will
Probate can also be complicated if there is any dispute between beneficiaries, creditors, executor, or HMRC. Our professionals can help or advise you with any stage of the process, from knowing what is probate to the successful conclusion of it. We can be of help if a dispute is hindering the process and we can even assist you in your work as executor.
4. Aspects of the probate process in the UAE
Before starting this process, you should know the following aspects:
4.1 How long does probate take?
The duration time will depend on the complexity and size of the estate. Generally, it lasts for one year. However, international probate can be more complicated and can take between six months and two years. During this process, some disputes can come up between the creditors, beneficiaries, executors, or tax authorities. These disputes can slow you down in managing the estate.
4.2 How much does probate cost?
Some probate specialists charge an hourly rate, while others charge a percentage of the value of the estate. This fee is generally between 1% to 5% of the value of the estate, plus VAT. Some of the banks also offer probate and estate administration services. However, these services are usually more expensive than using a specialist company.
4.3 Who can apply for probate?
Only the executor named in the deceased’s will can request the probate to administer their estate. If someone dies without having a will, they are intestate. The intestacy rules will decide who can apply to manage the estate instead.
4.4 Can you get probate if there is no will?
You cannot get a grant of probate if there is no will, but you can still distribute the inheritance and administer the estate through a different process. The rules of intestacy set out who can administer the estate with a grant of administration.
Without a will to decide how the assets will be transferred, the administrator will distribute the inheritance according to the rules of intestacy. Only spouses, children, and other close relatives can inherit under those rules.
5. Probate process for a Muslim will in the courts of Abu Dhabi
Under the law of the United Arab Emirates, only the registered wills can obtain a probate order from the Abu Dhabi Courts.
Some of the key points you should know about this process are the following:
- The Shariah Law is in charge of approving the probate order for a Muslim will in the Abu Dhabi Courts.
- ⅓ of an estate must be held for charitable causes and other expenses. The remaining ⅔ can be distributed among the legal heirs and beneficiaries.
- The will may be enforceable after the settlement of all debts. If the debts exceed ⅓ kept aside by the testator, then the executor must pay the debts using the assets given to the beneficiary with the majority of shares.
- A testator can include in his will a probate provision specifying certain details that the executor must take into account during the process.
Some of the requirements of the Abu Dhabi Courts are the following:
- The applicant must be present in the probate office along with two Muslim witnesses
- You must present certain documents in the probate office. For example, Emirates ID, passport, the original will for probate, etc.
- It is advisable that the executor hire a legal advisor in the UAE to organize the documents and simplify the process.
6. Probate process for a non-Muslim will in the courts of Abu Dhabi
- The probate service offered by the Abu Dhabi Courts allows non-Muslim testators to distribute the inheritance of beneficiaries and heirs following death
- The executor can deliver the application for the probate of a will along with the relevant government fees. The fee for a non-Muslim will is AED 950
- The appointed executor or the applicant may approach the non-Muslim will and probate office to set the date, deliver the documents, and receive the probated will.
- If the applicant is the legal representative of the executor, then a Power of Attorney (PoA) must be submitted. However, this PoA must be used specifically for the making of wills and must adhere to the will conditions.
- All documents must be submitted in Arabic. If any document is not in the local language, the executor must translate it.
- If any document is issued outside the UAE, it must be authenticated by the corresponding authorities.
- The verification documents must also be delivered to the non-Muslim wills and probate offices (Emirates ID and Passport). The registry may need other types of documents depending on the case.
- You must deliver the original will (along with copies) to the probate office for recording purposes
- The registry may ask for proof of the ownership of the estate for verification purposes.
- It is always advisable to hire a law firm in the UAE to ensure the successful conclusion of the probate of non-Muslim wills.
7. How is this process in DIFC?
After the death of the testator, the executor has to deliver the probate application along with the witness statements and attested death certificate (in the event that the death certificate is issued from a different country other than the UAE). The application must be submitted with a fee of approximately AED 1,000.
Once you have paid the fee, the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) will assign a case progression officer to verify the submitted documents. And also to act as a point of contact for the executor’s lawful attorney or for the executor itself. Once the review of the documents is ready, the executor (or the executor’s attorney) must go personally to the DIFC Courts.
At this point, the executor must submit a list of the principal assets comprised in the deceased’s estate. For example, bank accounts, real estate property, financial products, vehicles, etc. All assets must be in the schedule of the order for the DIFC Courts to issue them.
Based on the submissions, the case progression officer will prepare a probate order (which will be in both Arabic and English) and deliver it to the assigned judge of the DIFC Courts for execution. Once delivered, the executor will be able to take the original probate order, from the court.
If the assets are outside DIFC but inside Dubai, the executor must apply to the court for enforcement. The case progression officer will be in charge of delivering this request on behalf of the executor upon receipt of the required fee. The Dubai Court’s enforcement Department will thereafter deal with the lawful attorney or the executor and will issue the necessary instructions to effect the transfer of assets.
8. The process in Dubai Courts Will Registry
Compared to the procedure in DIFC, the Dubai Courts have a simpler formality. The attorney or the executor must present two Muslim male witnesses along with the fee of AED 70 to complete the process. The executor or the attorney can collect the certificate after the said procedure.
9. Benefits of seeking counsel
Some of the advantages that you can acquire by receiving help to carry out this process are the following:
- Helps avoid unnecessary delays and seeks to achieve quick results in obtaining a probate order for the testator’s will.
- Resolves the family disputes that may arise during the process.
- Support the appointed executor during the process.
- It helps in mediating between any claims brought against the funds of a testator and the estate during the process.
- Provides clarity regarding the expenses and debts owed by the testator that are required to be paid by law.
Knowing what is a probate and understanding its procedure thoroughly will be beneficial as it will save you time, money, and effort.
10. How can we help you know more about these procedures?
Performing a probate process in the UAE can be a difficult task for the general public. Connect Zone provides support through the probate process by offering various services such as dispute resolution and legal advice from our high-profile professionals.
We can also help you with other types of legal and administrative procedures. Apart from helping you know what is probate, we can help you form a company in Dubai Mainland, we will offer you the best PRO services, and we can even help you choose an office in one of the best business centers in the UAE.
Do you want to know more about these legal procedures in the UAE? You can contact us at +971 43 316 688 or at the following email firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you do, one of our advisors will assist you gladly.
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