Retire in Dubai programme expands to offer discounted rates for will registration

DIFC Courts ties up with Dubai Tourism to boost the emirate’s retiree-friendly credentials

happy smiling active senior tourist couple together on sightseeing vacation through United Arab Emirates
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Expatriate retirees who sign up for Dubai’s recently announced five-year retirement scheme will benefit from discounted rates for wills registration and probate services.

On Wednesday, the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts signed an agreement with Dubai Tourism to provide wills registration and probate services at discounted rates for retirees who are looking to secure their assets in the UAE.

Under the Retire in Dubai programme launched in September, residents and foreigners aged above 55 years can live in the emirate if they fulfill one of three requirements.

They must either earn a monthly income of Dh20,000 ($5,450); have Dh1 million in cash savings; or own a property in Dubai worth at least Dh2m. They must also have valid UAE health insurance.

A retired expatriate and their spouse can apply for the five-year visa with the possibility of automatic renewal online, provided they continue to meet the criteria.

Through its retiree programme, Dubai aims to tap the economic potential of the world's retiree population.

In 2015, people aged over 50 generated around $7.6 trillion worth of economic activity in the US, according to Oxford Economics. Direct spending on consumer goods and services, including health care, by those aged 50 and over amounted to $5.6tn in 2015, according to a survey by the group. The Economist Intelligence Unit last year estimated the contribution of the older generation to the US economy at $8.3tn.

Currently, the cost to register a single will with the DIFC Courts Wills Service is Dh10,000, while a mirror will costs Dh15,000. However, under the Retire in Dubai programme, the cost to register a single full will is Dh6,190 and a mirror will is Dh8,190.

“Our Retire in Dubai programme … [aims] to make the city the world’s most preferred lifestyle destination,” Yousuf Lootah, executive director of tourism development and investments at Dubai Tourism, said.

“This agreement with the DIFC 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.”

In the absence of a will in the UAE, Sharia inheritance law will apply to how an individual’s estate is divided, meaning they lose the right to distribute assets as per their wishes.

Launched through a partnership between the DIFC Courts and the government of Dubai in 2015, the Wills Service was established to enable non-Muslims who invest and live in the UAE to pass on their assets and appoint guardians for their children in line with their wishes.

Meanwhile, the DIFC Courts Wills Service said it now offers a videoconferencing option to register wills. People taking out a will and two witnesses can join a video conferencing call and electronically sign the will through a dedicated portal.

“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,” the DIFC Courts said in a statement.