DIFC Courts

Although it is vitally important that your assets are administered in accordance with your wishes, as a parent you will be more concerned about the welfare of your children and the arrangements for their care should you and/or your partner pass away. The DIFC Courts Wills and Probate Registry Rules contain specific provisions allowing you to put in place the necessary arrangements.

The Rules allow you to register a DIFC Courts Will which solely provides for the appointment of guardians for your children (a ‘Guardianship Will’). Should you wish to distribute your assets as well as appointing guardians for your children, you would need to consider registering a Full Will. Should you pass away, the DIFC Courts can issue both ‘Interim Guardianship Orders’ and ‘Permanent Guardianship Orders’, in accordance with the directions in your DIFC Courts Will, provided that the nominated guardians meet the eligibility requirements of the Rules and their appointment does not contravene UAE public policy.

The ability to appoint guardians, both Interim and Permanent, puts the power of decision making firmly back in your hands, giving you the reassurance and peace of mind that you need. To help you think about the type of Guardianship Will that would be appropriate for your circumstances and what your next steps should be in obtaining a Guardianship Will, we have set out below the key points to consider.

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Step 1. Choose ‘Single’ or ‘Mirror’ Guardianship Will

If you are the sole parent of your children you should select the Single Guardianship Will option otherwise, if both you and your wife/husband wish to register a Guardianship Will at the same time, you should select the Mirror Guardianship Will option (giving an overall net reduction in registration fees).

Step 2. Should I appoint Interim or Permanent Guardians?

In the event that both you and your partner should pass away simultaneously or in quick succession, it is extremely important that your children can be placed with individuals who you can trust. An ‘Interim’ guardian is an individual that is appointed to take care of your child or children temporarily before your appointed ‘Permanent’ guardians come forward. Often Interim guardians are family or close friends living nearby. You should consider appointing both Interim and Permanent guardians in your DIFC Courts Will.

Step 3. Who should I appoint as Guardians?

You may have family members residing in the UAE who will be immediately available to take care of your children should you and your partner pass away. However, in the event that your desired Permanent guardians are residing elsewhere, in the short term, the responsibility is often placed in the hands of close friends who know your children and who can be trusted to take care of them. When considering who to appoint on a permanent basis, this decision involves significantly more planning and could necessitate your child relocating and residing in another country. You will need to consider a variety of factors when appointing guardians both practically and financially, and you should also consider taking legal advice to ensure that the appointment(s) comply with UAE public policy.

Step 4. Consider Legal Advice

Your Guardianship Will is an extremely important document and you are strongly advised to consider taking legal advice in its preparation. The Rules set out certain minimum requirements that must be met for a Will to be registerable and if not met, your Will would be unenforceable. To help you find a suitable lawyer, the Wills Service publishes a list of legal practitioners that have met certain minimum standards in relation to their knowledge of the Rules and in relation to drafting DIFC Courts Wills. Click here to access this list of approved draftsmen.The pre-registration checks for a Guardianship Will can only be carried out by appointment in person with the Wills Service (and not via the Virtual Registry).