Non-Muslim Will Registration in Abu Dhabi Gets a Boost

March 4, 2021by Kartik Shetty0

Register a will in the UAE. Dubai will, Abu Dhabi will. Estate planning, inheritance, legacy

Empowering Expatriates: Abu Dhabi’s Non-Muslim Wills Registry

In a significant step towards ensuring legal protection of assets and promoting a harmonious living environment for expatriates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) has been operating a dedicated non-Muslims Wills Registry. Since its inception in 2017, the initiative has witnessed a growing number of registrations, with a large number of Wills registered this year. These Wills play a crucial role in empowering non-Muslim residents by allowing them to make informed decisions regarding their heirs and the distribution of their assets, fostering a sense of confidence and security within the diverse expatriate community.

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A wide range of people from across the world

Among the expatriates who have embraced this service, Indians have emerged as the leading cohort in terms of Will Registrations. They are followed by United Kingdom and South Africa. This multicultural participation underscores the importance of the non-Muslims Wills Registry in serving a wide array of social and family structures from multiple nationalities and cultures.

A UAE Will: Critical for Asset Protection and Family Well-being


Building Confidence and Legal Protection

The primary objective of the non-Muslims Wills Registry is to build confidence among residents and provide them with the legal means to protect their assets in the UAE. By registering their Wills, expatriates ensure that their assets will be distributed according to their wishes in the event of their sudden demise. This not only offers peace of mind but also empowers individuals to select their heirs as per their Will for the orderly disposal of their estate after their passing. The ADJD’s non-Muslims Wills section acts as a guardian of their interests, ensuring that their choices are respected and upheld.

Unified Legal Coverage

One of the remarkable aspects of the non-Muslims Wills Registry is its expansive reach. Regardless of whether expatriates Register their Wills in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, beneficiaries can claim assets of the testator anywhere in the UAE. This comprehensive legal coverage ensures that expatriates have access to the same level of protection and security regardless of their chosen emirate. It exemplifies the UAE’s commitment to providing equal legal rights and safeguards for all residents, regardless of their nationality or place of residence.

Justice and Tolerance on Display

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has been actively promoting principles of justice, tolerance, and respect for others’ rights. Recently, the department organized a three-day justice and tolerance exhibition under the slogan “Following the Steps of Zayed.” This exhibition showcased the department’s efforts towards creating a harmonious environment in the UAE, fostering communal harmony, religious tolerance, and respect for all faiths and cultures. It underscores the nation’s commitment to inclusivity and respect for diversity.

Ameena Al Mazrouei emphasized the inclusive nature of the non-Muslims wills section, stating, “In keeping with the principles of tolerance and respect for others’ rights, the non-Muslims Wills section was established in 2017. The idea is to serve people from all segments of the community, irrespective of their nationalities and religion.” This dedication to serving the diverse expatriate population reaffirms the UAE’s status as a global melting pot where people from various backgrounds can thrive.

Process and Cost

1. Drafting: You can write your Will yourself or have it prepared by a lawyer who will help you construct a draft in accordance with your final wishes.

2. Legal Translation: Once your Will draft is complete, it must be legally translated into Arabic (Bilingual Will).

3. Register your Will with the ADJD: You must submit your Will online in order to register your Will with the ADJD. If you file your Will online, you must have UAE pass installed on your mobile phone.

4. Cost of registering a Will in the ADJD: AED 950 is the government charge for registering a Will in the ADJD.

A testament to the UAE’s respect for diverse cultures

The non-Muslims wills registry offered by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department is a testament to the UAE’s commitment to inclusivity, legal protection, and respect for diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Expatriates, comprising a significant portion of the UAE’s population, can now confidently plan for the distribution of their assets, knowing that their choices will be upheld by the legal system.

How to Register a Will in the UAE: Requirements and Procedures

The success of this initiative, as evidenced by the increasing number of registrations, highlights the expatriate community’s eagerness to secure their assets and ensure the welfare of their heirs. In embracing justice, tolerance, and inclusivity, the UAE paves the way for a brighter future for all residents, irrespective of their nationality and faith.

Popular with senior executives and business owners

The Non-Muslim Wills Registration office, introduced by ADJD (Abu Dhabi Judicial Department), was popular among non-Muslims who own properties in the UAE right from the time it was introduced. Within two years of introduction, more than 1600 people had registered their wills with the ADJD. ADJD-registered Will has minor children care provision, which allows temporary and permanent guardians to take over during the worst-case scenario.

ADJD transitioned the Will registration service to its online platform quickly during the Pandemic. The Will registration can be done remotely and then it would be mailed to a UAE registered address.

ADJD has further stopped sending the Will through courier, eliminating the wait, from last month and has started uploading the same in the online portal. The e-version includes a digital signature certificate and the ADJD official stamp. The e-Will additionally has a barcode with a unique reference number verifiable via the QR codes provided on the certificate. The electronic Will is now considered as the original by the ADJD.

The innovative, swift and technologically advanced move by ADJD improves the Non-Muslim Wills Registration Service and makes the entire process more efficient and streamlined for the client. Moreover, this enables non-resident UAE individuals to register Will through the virtual portal if they own assets in the UAE, regardless of where they are located.

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Kartik is a legal consultant at ATB legal, with a unique blend of skills for civil, corporate and commercial matters. He is a law graduate from Shivaji University, Mumbai and postgraduate from Pune University. He writes about family law and corporate and commercial matters.


The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the respective authors. ATB Legal does not endorse these opinions. While we make every effort to ensure the factual accuracy of the information provided in our blogs, inaccuracies may occur due to changes in the legislative landscape or human errors. It is important to note that ATB Legal does not assume any responsibility for actions taken based on the information presented in these blogs. We strongly recommend verifying information from official sources and consulting with professional advisors to ensure its accuracy and relevance to your specific circumstances.

About ATB Legal

ATB Legal is a full-service legal consultancy in the UAE providing services in dispute resolution (DIFC Courts, ADGM Courts, mainland litigation management and Arbitrations), corporate and commercial matters, IP, business set up and UAE taxation. We also have a personal law department providing advice on marriage, divorce and wills & estate planning for expats.

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by Kartik Shetty

Kartik is a legal consultant at ATB legal, with a unique blend of skills for civil, corporate and commercial matters. He is a law graduate from Shivaji University, Mumbai and postgraduate from Pune University. He writes about family law and corporate and commercial matters.

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