DIFC Courts wills service to fortify protection for retirees under Dubai's new global retirement programme

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has signed a cooperation agreement with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), to support the newly launched 'Retire in Dubai' programme

DIFC Courts wills service to fortify protection for retirees under Dubai's new global retirement programme
  • ‘Retire in Dubai’ programme developed by Dubai Tourism in collaboration with The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) - Dubai
  • DIFC Courts Wills Service develops strategy to provide retirees with exclusive competitive rates for Wills & Probate management

Dubai: The attraction of Dubai as one of the region’s top investment and retirement destinations has been boosted by new steps designed to secure foreign investment and protect assets of investors and residents.

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has signed a cooperation agreement with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), to support the newly launched ‘Retire in Dubai’ programme.

Under the agreement, the DIFC Courts has developed enhanced Wills registration and Probate services at exclusive discounted rates. The services will assist retirees with securing their assets in the UAE, delivering final peace of mind and safe in the knowledge that their wishes will be respected.

His Excellency Omar Al Mheiri, Deputy Chief Justice, DIFC Courts, said: “The DIFC Courts is honoured to be invited to participate with this programme. We remain confident our existing and unique Wills Service can contribute to the overall value proposition Dubai is presenting under this new scheme for retirees. With over two million expatriates residing in Dubai, the Government of Dubai and the DIFC Courts recognise the vital importance of our innovative service for non-Muslim residents and investors,which provides not only practical assistance with legacy planning, but simultaneously boosts Dubai’s attractiveness as a destination for investment and retirement.”

Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director, Tourism Development & Investments, Dubai Tourism, commented: “Our Retire in Dubai programme is inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to make the city the world’s most preferred lifestyle destination. An essential aspect of ensuring the success of this programme will be the continued stakeholder engagement and wide-ranging cooperation extended by our partners. This agreement with the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts will further enhance Dubai’s position as a retiree-friendly destination, as it will contribute towards the support system that will be available for the retirees. The Wills Service provided by the DIFC Courts will be part of

the extensive package of benefits and world-class services that retirees in Dubai can access under our global retirement programme, ensuring that they are able to enjoy an active stress-free retirement lifestyle in Dubai while leaving the key elements of planning their retirement in the hands of the experts.”

Launched through a partnership in 2015 between the DIFC Courts and the Government of Dubai, the Wills Service was established to enable non-Muslims who are investing and living in the UAE to pass on their assets and appoint guardians for their children in line with their wishes through a Will registration service.

As a part of the UAE Government’s commitment to effectively employ advanced technologies and digital platforms to continue services to the public during COVID-19 restrictions, in 2020 the DIFC Courts leveraged its digital infrastructure to offer videoconferencing for Will registrations.

With individuals and businesses across the UAE currently operating remotely, the new video conferencing facility can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet, or a desktop device, allowing residents and investors to register their Will remotely, from the safety and comfort of their own home. The new system now allows the Testator and two (2) Witnesses to join in on the video conferencing call from different locations. The system also allows an approved Will to be directly uploaded on the system and to affix electronic signatures.

Remote registrations add an additional layer of digital access to the current Virtual Registry for Wills, which allows those living overseas to create and register a DIFC Courts Will. Investors and residents can access it from anywhere in the world and be connected, via video link, to a compliance officer sitting in Dubai.

The DIFC Courts also provides an online automated will drafting service for the Property Will, Business Owners Will and Financial Assets Will, with comprehensive explanatory notes, should retirees wish to draft the Will independently.


About the DIFC Courts

The UAE’s DIFC Courts administers a unique English-language common law system – offering swift, independent justice to settle local and international commercial or civil disputes. The Courts, based in Dubai, provide certainty through transparent, enforceable judgments from internationally-recognised judges, who adhere to the highest global legal standards. The DIFC Courts is independent from, but complementary to, the UAE’s Arabic-language civil law system – offering a choice that strengthens both processes while ensuring public access to world-class justice.

The DIFC Courts was established under laws enacted by the late HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai in September 2004.  The laws establishing the DIFC Courts are designed to ensure that the DIFC Courts provide the certainty, flexibility and efficiency expected by Court users. The Courts’ community-focused approach encourages early settlement, while their successful track record supports Dubai’s growing status as an international business hub.

In October 2011, a decree of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, opened the DIFC Courts’ jurisdiction to businesses from all across the GCC region and beyond to provide the international business community with access to one of the most advanced commercial courts in the world.

In line with HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision, the DIFC Courts serves to develop the UAE national workforce and enhance the competitiveness of Emirati advocates. The DIFC Courts is spearheading training programmes predominantly aimed at local Emirati lawyers, which offer knowledge of, and qualifications in, the English-language common law system.

The DIFC Courts Wills Service is a joint initiative of the Government of Dubai and the DIFC Courts that gives non-Muslims investing and living in the UAE the option to pass on their assets and/or appoint guardians for their children, in accordance with the instructions in their Will.

The Wills Service was established by Resolution No. 4 of 2014 issued by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the President of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and its authority re-affirmed by Dubai Law No. 15 of 2017 issued by his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, regulating inheritance, Wills and Probate for non-Muslims.

The Wills Service and the Registry together provide a system ensuring that a person’s UAE assets will be distributed in accordance with the terms of their registered Wills. They are governed by Dubai Law No. 15 of 2017 and a set of detailed rules which establishes a system that combines operational speed, efficiency, and cost effectiveness with the certainty of judicial enforcement.

About Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism)

With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai Tourism’s mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the emirate. Dubai Tourism is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development, and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector. It markets and promotes the Emirate’s commerce sector and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the Dubai Tourism portfolio include Dubai Business Events, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.

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