This is an excerpt of the information provided on the British Embassy website for the UAE. You can see that any will has to be valid in the home country and go to probate before it can be used in the UAE.
WILLS IN THE UAE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Any expatriate living in UAE should consider making a will to ensure that their wishes are carried out following their death.
UAE inheritance law is governed by two federal laws: Federal Law No 5 of 1985 governing the Law of Civil Transactions in the UAE (the “Civil Code”), and the Personal Affairs Law No 28 of 2005 (the “Personal Affairs Law.”).
The Personal Affairs Law allows for expatriates to have the laws of their home country applied to cover their UAE assets, provided certain criteria are met. However, please note: there is some uncertainty whether the laws of the home country can be applied to real estate matters, eg relating to property purchased in the UAE.
In the absence of a will, Sharia law may be applied. For further information on UAE law and wills, please seek the advice of a licensed advocacy or legal consultancy firm.
What should I ensure when I make a Will in the UAE?
In order for your home country’s law to apply in the UAE, you will need to take the following steps:
- employ the services of a licensed advocacy or legal consultancy firm who should ensure that the will meets the legal requirements of your home jurisdiction;
- Sign the will in the presence of Consular staff who will witness your signature (notarising service).
If you are a British national, you will need to ensure that the following steps are completed before your will can be presented to the UAE Courts to carry out your wishes after your death in respect of your property and assets in the UAE:
- arrange for the will to be submitted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK to attest the Embassy’s notarial seal and legalise the will by attaching the FCO apostille;
- arrange for the UAE Embassy in London to attest the FCO’s apostille and legalise the will; and
- arrange for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attest the UAE Embassy’s legalisation to stamp the will for use in the UAE.
Upon your death:
- your executor, as appointed in your will, must submit the will to the home country’s relevant authorities such as the Probate Court;
- the Probate Court will determine the validity of the will and officially appoint your executor and issue the grant of probate (the document which officially allows your wishes to be carried out as stated in your will);
- the executor must then arrange for the grant of probate (and the will, if not previously legalised and attested) to be legalised and attested by completing the following steps:
o notarisation by a local notary public;
o attestation and legalisation by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office;
o attestation and legalisation by the UAE Embassy in London; and
o attestation and stamping for use in the UAE by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE.
- The executor will then need to appoint local advocates in the UAE to present the will and grant of probate to the UAE Courts. Please note that for the documents to be submitted, a legally translated version must be prepared in Arabic (the appointed local advocate should be able to assist you with arranging the legal translation).
The full article is here British Embassy Advice about Wills in the UAE