When someone dies after registering a Will with the DIFC Courts Wills Registry for Non-Muslims, the Executor must get the Order from the DIFC Courts (the ‘Probate Order’), allowing them to administer the deceased’s estate (a procedure known as ‘Probate’). The whole Probate procedure is conducted in line with the DIFC Courts Wills and Probate Registry Rules and any other laws in effect in the DIFC. This article will discuss the process and requirements relating to the grant of Probate in the DIFC Will Registry.
What is Probate?
Probate is a court-supervised legal process that determines how a deceased person’s assets are distributed. As a result, if you have a Will, the Court should examine it to assess your desires and carry them out. It entails identifying and valuing the deceased’s assets, paying their final debts and taxes, and distributing the estate’s remaining assets to its lawful recipients.
The UAE courts will handle the probate procedure if you have registered your Will with a Notary Public. The DIFC courts will conduct the probate procedure if your Will is registered with the DIFC Courts Wills Service. The application for Probate will be submitted to the DIFC Courts Wills Service’s offices.
What is Grant of Probate?
The DIFC Court provides a grant of Probate, which specifies the division of a dead person’s assets following the DIFC Wills & Probate Registry Rules (DIFC WPR Rules). The DIFC WPR Rules give a clear and transparent procedure for the Grant of Probate that executors may follow without professional assistance. The DIFC WPR Rules provide a clear and transparent process for the Grant of Probate.
Requirements for the Grant of Probate:
According to rule 20 of DIFC Wills and Probate Rules, Probate of a Will may only be given:
- If the Will has been registered and remains registered at the time of the Testator’s death and
- It has not been revoked at the time of the Testator’s death.
iii. To the Executors appointed (named) in the Will, or those who have not renounced as an executor.
- If the Will names many executors, one or more of them may apply for Probate, but the authority to apply for a Grant should be reserved to those who have not renounced unless the Court so orders.
Criteria for the application of a Grant
Rule 23 of the DIFC WPR Rules provides the criteria to make Applications for the grant of Probate. Grant applications must be submitted to the Registry. At any moment, the Registrar may refer the application to the Court. When the Registrar is satisfied that the WPR Rules have been followed, the application will be directed to the Court. The Court must be notified of any requests to revoke a grant. The Court will hear applications contesting the legality of the Will.
Who is eligible to apply for a grant of Probate?
As per Rule 24 of the WPR Rule, a Grant application can be made in one of two ways:
(a) Through a Probate Practitioner; or
(b) Through a personal application by the Executor.
Procedures to be followed in DIFC
The following procedure is to be followed while applying for the probate Application before the DIFC Court.
- Filing of Probate application by the Executor
The Executor must file the probate application and witness statements and a verified death certificate (if the death certificate was obtained in a country other than the UAE) after the Testator’s death.
ii. Appointment of Case Progression Officer
The DIFC Courts will appoint a Case Progression Officer to evaluate the submitted papers and serve as a point of contact for the executor or the executor’s authorized counsel once the fee has been paid. Following the document examination, the Executor or the Executor’s counsel will be required to appear in person before the DIFC Courts.
- Executor submits a list of Assets of deceased.
At this point, the Executor may submit a list of the significant assets in the deceased’s estate (e.g., real estate property, financial products, bank accounts, and cars) for inclusion in a schedule to the DIFC Courts’ Probate Order. The Case Progression Officer will create the Probate Order based on the submissions and submit it to the appointed Judge of the DIFC Courts for execution. The Executor will obtain the actual Probate Order from the DIFC Courts after it has been issued.
- Execution or enforcement stamp – in case of assets outside of DIFC
The Orders will require an ‘execution or enforcement stamp’ from the Dubai Courts if the Probate Order pertains to assets outside the DIFC and any Guardianship Orders. This administrative obligation applies to any Orders made by the DIFC Courts that are to be implemented outside of the DIFC.
According to the DIFC Courts Will provisions, the Executor (s) are free to administer the deceased’s estate and take Guardianship of children (if applicable). During the Probate procedures, the DIFC Courts will also deal with any claims, additional petitions, and objections that may arise.
Fees related to Grant Probate Applications
(a) Fee for applying for a Grant of Probate shall be US$ 1,500;
(b) Fee for applying for Guardianship shall be US$ 1,500; and
(c) Fee for filing both an application for a Grant of Probate and an application for Guardianship in respect of the same deceased person shall be US$ 1,500, plus any applicable DIFC Courts’ fee.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the subject. The content provided under this article does not construe any legal advice. Don’t hesitate to contact HHS Lawyers and Legal Consultant for further information on the Grant of Probate process before the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry, and would be pleased to answer your questions.