All you need to know about the probate process in the UAE

what is probate

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.

  1. What is probate?
  2. What is a grant of probate?
  3. How is the process in the UAE?
  4. Aspects about the probate process in the UAE
  5. Probate process for a Muslim will in the courts of Abu Dhabi
  6. Probate process for a non-Muslim will in the courts of Abu Dhabi
  7. How is this process in DIFC?
  8. The process in Dubai Courts Will Registry
  9. Benefits of seeking counsel
  10. 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 Once you do, one of our advisors will assist you gladly.

Lastly, if you are looking for a job, The Talent Point is the job platform for you. You can register at or you can send your CV to apply. You do not have to worry; your data will be safe with us. We will not share it or store it.

Procedure to make a will in the UAE

will in the UAE

Many entrepreneurs focus a lot of their energy on building a career, creating a business, and being successful. However, they neglect an important necessity: making a will in the UAE. If an investor does not create a will on time, unfortunate incidents may occur in the family. And the hard-earned asset may not end up in the right benefactor’s hands. Thus, to ensure that your assets are safe and distributed correctly, you must create a will.

In this article, you will find information about the types of wills, the procedure to create a will, where you can register this document, and how we can help you write a will.

  1. What is a will in the UAE?
  2. Types of wills
  3. How is the procedure to make a will in the UAE?
  4. What is the repercussion of not having a will?
  5. Who can make a will?
  6. Where you can register a will in the UAE?
  7. How can we help you with the arrangements to make a will in the Emirates?

1. What is a will in the UAE?

A will is a document that specifies how an individual wants their assets to be handled, after their demise. A carefully thought and a well-written will holds up to legal scrutiny and leaves little room for possible disputes and interpretation. It can be subject to changes during the person’s life.

2. Types of wills

There are four main types of wills:

2.1 The simple will

As unassuming as it sounds, this type of will covers the most important aspects of this document:

  • Define the person who is going to execute your will (the executor)
  • Stipulating who will receive your assets
  • Naming a guardian for your children, if applicable

2.2. The joint will

This type of will is generally used by married couples or partners. This document is the combination of two wills in one. When a testator passes away, all of their assets pass automatically to the co-testator. When both parties pass away, the executor is notified and the wishes of the deceased are respected and carried out.

2.3 The testamentary trust will

The testamentary trust will is based on establishing a “trust” that contains assets and places them in the hands of a “trustee”. Who takes care of them for a specific period of time. As the trust is, generally, set for the benefit of either mentally ill individuals or young children, the specific time period must appear clearly in the will. It can also specify the age at which the beneficiaries must reach to receive the assets or a milestone they must cross.

2.4 The living will

Similar to the special of attorney, this type will depend on the details of the instructor in relation to the critical care of the testators. This will become effective when and only when the testator becomes ill to make medical decisions on their own. This includes the end of life decisions and whether or not to use extraordinary means to support life.

3. How is the procedure to make a will in the UAE?

A will is a vital document in every person’s life. Through a will, you set instructions regarding the guardianship of your minor children and the inheritance of your assets. The steps to carry out this document are the following:

3.1  Select where to register the will

The courts in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) are two of the most important judicial bodies in the UAE. Both have apartments especially dedicated to the registry of wills. And they are known as the DIFC Courts Wills Service and the ADJD Wills Registry for non-Muslims. These are the two options preferred by non-Muslim ex-pats who wish to register their wills in the UAE.

By registering a will at DIFC or ADJD, you will be able to cover assets located anywhere in the country. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, an option to register via videoconference has been enabled in both departments. Also, if you register your will at DIFC, you will be able to cover assets located in foreign territory. Moreover, you can register in English, a provision that is new in the UAE. In addition to this, the executors of your will have the advantage of taking a short probate in English.

On the other hand, ADJD offers will registration services at very affordable rates. And has included a bilingual court for probate. Our professionals at Connect Zone are highly qualified to carry this and any legal and administrative procedure that you or your company may need.

3.2 Name the beneficiaries

By naming the beneficiaries in your will, you are defining who inherits your assets and how much they inherit. If this aspect is not clear in the document, it is up to the UAE courts to decide the beneficiaries. Generally, you can do this by applying either your home country or the Shariah Law. It depends on the court where you are filing the probate application.

During this process, your family is free from any possible legal entanglements when the beneficiaries are explicitly mentioned in your will. The probate process can be done at a swift pace. In this way, your family will not have to wait long to access your assets. Furthermore, the chances of there being some sort of dispute in your family are lessened. Beneficiaries can inherit assets easily, without the need for other family members to interfere in the process.

Besides naming the main beneficiary, it is important to mention the alternative beneficiaries as well. For instance, most non-muslims wills made in the United Arab Emirates generally have the spouse as the main beneficiary, entitled to 100% ownership of the estate. In the event that the spouse does not survive the testator, the children take the position of alternate beneficiaries. Additional layers of alternate beneficiaries include the testator’s siblings, parents, relatives, or friends.

3.3 Appoint the executors

An executor is responsible for carrying out all instructions of your will. The wills that the people carry out in the UAE generally have an executor and, in most cases, it is someone amongst the sibling, spouse, or a parent. Also, you need to give the alternate executors names in case the principal executor rejects responsibility or passes away before the testator does.

Since the role of an executor can be quite demanding, make sure you choose someone you trust. And who is capable of fulfilling said responsibility. The executor will eventually deal with the wealth you had accumulated during your life. Hence, it is advisable that you think well and have a conversation with whoever you decide to appoint as the executor.

Under the law of the UAE, the executor must be over 21 years at the time of executing the will. This person cannot have a criminal record and it cannot be someone who has been declared insolvent unless they have been rehabilitated now.

3.4  Appoint guardians for your children

In addition to starting the succession of your assets, you must select legal guardians for your minor children through a will. A legal guardian takes care of all the responsibilities that a parent may have. This includes making important decisions related to bringing up the minor and providing financial support for them.

It is a common assumption that the mother is automatically the legal guardian after the father’s death, however, this is not true. Under the law of the United Arab Emirates, the mother gets the “custodian” status. For the wife to be the legal guardian, you must add it to your will.

Generally, wills in the UAE have the spouse as the permanent legal guardian. The biological uncles and aunts of the minor child or the grandparents assume the role of alternate legal guardians. It is advisable to have different layers of guardianship just to cover possible scenarios where the principal and alternate guardians do not survive you. Moreover, you can select temporary guardians to look over your minor children during the buffer period until the permanent guardian arrives in the country.

3.5 Hire a law firm

If you do not make your will right, there can be severe repercussions. A will must keep up with the latest legal changes in the UAE and it must state clear directions to pass on your assets, otherwise, it can make your will difficult to interpret. If a will has an error, it can be considered invalid.

Therefore, you should avoid making wills on your own or hire typing centers to do so. It is always advisable to seek professional legal services for writing a will. Connect Zone is the right choice when it comes to the making of any legal paperwork. Our trained staff will be in charge of carrying out the will quickly and efficiently, maintaining the transparency of the operation at all times.

4. What is the repercussion of not having a will?

After the death of a person in the United Arab Emirates, the bank will freeze their bank accounts (including joint accounts). If you are a female ex-pat and do not have a will, the UAE Law of Inheritance will apply to your assets after your husband passes away. Consequently, the distribution of assets may not be in your favor and any belongings may not be transferred to the right beneficiaries. If your husband dies, you may not be entitled to all or any of the assets, depending on the family situation. Also, not having a will can affect the guardianship of your children if they are under 18.

Creating a will in the UAE will give you the security that your assets will be distributed according to you, and also ensures that your children will be cared for by people you trust. Beneficiaries of your will can access your assets by presenting a succession certificate from the Dubai Family Court, showing their legal entitlement. The same situation applies to the guardian appointed in your will, who will have the responsibility of taking care of your children after you pass away.

5. Who can make a will?

The UAE Law No.15 of 2017 states that any non-Muslim resident who is over 21 years of age can create a will if they possess the following:

  • Children below 21 years old
  • Movable or immovable assets in Dubai

For Muslims-residents, the distribution of assets will happen under the UAE’s Shariah law.

6. Where you can register a will in the UAE?

You can register a will at Dubai Courts or at the Dubai International Financial Center Will Service Centre.

6.1 How much does it cost to make a will in the UAE?

The cost of registering a will depends on the registration site. At Dubai Courts, the cost can range from AED 8,000 to AED 10,000. At the DIFC Wills Service Centre, it can cost anywhere from AED 15,000 to AED 20,000.

The cost of creating a will includes the drafting of the will, official Arabic translation, lawyer consultation, and registration.

7. How can we help you with the arrangements to make a will in the Emirates?

Our professionals are competent to handle any legal proceedings in the United Arab Emirates. We are a specialized agency with more than twenty years of experience in this field and more than a thousand happy clients. In relation to the deed of wills, our legal advisors will be in charge of carrying it out respecting your wishes and offering your relatives a quick and successful conclusion.

At Connect Zone, we can help you with all kinds of procedures, we carry out the process of any type of visa, we can offer you a wide variety of PRO services and we can also help you obtain an Emirates ID. There are many ways in which we can be of great help for individuals and businesses. This is why you should contact us to find out all you need to know about out excellent solutions.

Do you want to know more about the process to make a will in the UAE? Please, make a call and reach us at +971 43 316 688. We are more than ready to assist you. You can also write all of your inquiries and send them to us via

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