H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, has issued a Resolution creating a registry of wills and probate for non-Muslims. This Resolution comes within the framework of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department's efforts to establish an institutional infrastructure dedicated to tolerance and acceptance of the other, and conforming to the legislative structure of UAE law and the community culture that characterises the people of the state.
The Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, Counsel Yousef Saeed Al Ibri, said that the creation of the wills and probate registry for non-Muslims comes as a part of identifying the realistic needs of all sectors of society in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and laying down the institutional and legislative mechanisms in order to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals and the special features of their various beliefs and ethnicities, under the umbrella of the State Constitution which affirms the enjoyment of foreigners of rights and freedoms prescribed in international charters.
Al Ibri said that the decision will constitute a quality leap towards enhancing the competitive position of Abu Dhabi, establishing it as an ideal destination for residence and investment. "In addition, this will have a positive impact on attracting people of distinguished expertise to work and live in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi," he added.
He also indicated that the UAE is the first state regionally and the third globally to attract international expertise and invite a skilled foreign workforce from all over the world. All of this has constituted a rich hub of culture and civilisation, and therefore necessitated an institutional work integrated at all social, educational and institutional levels, including judicial and legal levels to maintain this outstanding position through the propagation of the culture of tolerance as an element of harmony in a diverse community.
The Undersecretary of the Judicial Department affirmed that the creation of a registry of wills and probate for non-Muslims will contribute to raising the degree of legal protection over assets of non-Muslims owned in Abu Dhabi, by granting freedom to non-Muslims to select the appropriate method to write their will concerning disposal of their estate after their death.
He also explained that the work processes will provide a legal guarantee for inheritance, estate and wills through the creation of a respective registry thereof, consideration of all cases related to the execution of registered wills concerning estates and properties located within the emirate for residents and non-residents, and the possibility to register wills in the English language.
The registry also offers flexible legal options to assist non-Muslim families in the event of the death of the father or mother, in order to protect assets and properties, which constitutes an additional factor of trust that will support Abu Dhabi's position as a destination for foreign investments, benefiting the Emirate's economy in general, and the real estate sector and owned fixed assets in particular.
The regulation of the registry of wills and probate for non-Muslims shall include procedures for registering wills in English language and making them available to the public in accordance with the principle of transparency. The data will include conditions relating to the testator, and others related to will form, as well as rules concerning witnesses, jurisdictions and registration, keeping and archiving of wills.