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Dubai’s DIFC Courts introduces video conferencing to register wills online

Dubai’s DIFC Courts introduces video conferencing to register wills online

A testator and two witnesses can join via video conferencing from different locations

DIFC Courts

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has introduced a new video conferencing facility to aid in the online registration of wills.

A testator and two witnesses can join via video conferencing from different locations, rather than having to be in the same place as was previously the case.

Wills can subsequently be directly uploaded on to the system and electronic signatures can be affixed to verify and witness the will.

There is also an option for overseas residents to use the Virtual Registry facility to register wills related to property, business ownership and financial assets in the DIFC Courts.

Investors and former residents can access it from anywhere in the world and connect, via video link, to a compliance officer present in Dubai.

A statement issued by the DIFC Courts added that it also provides an online automated will drafting service, including explanatory notes, should individuals choose to draft the wills themselves.

For those who require professional assistance to do so, the court has published a list of legal practitioners who are aware of the requirements, rules and processes related to the registration of wills on its website.

The new measures introducing the video conferencing facility were jointly developed by the Government of Dubai and DIFC Courts at a time when residents across the country, as in many other countries around the world, are being encouraged to stay home in order to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

“During the current global pandemic, where everyone is working from home and staying connected through various digital platforms, we look at it as an opportunity to further aid the general public through our digital infrastructure. This era of legal technological disruption allows us to work towards replacing outdated processes with emerging technologies to create real legal efficiency and certainty for individuals and the wider business community,” said Omar Al Muhairi, Deputy Chief Justice at DIFC Courts.

Once registered, wills are stored as encrypted files for 120 years on the DIFC Courts system.

Separately, DIFC has announced relief packages for businesses operating within the freezone in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read: Regulator of Dubai’s financial hub DIFC proposes relief measures for firms

Among the measures outlined by the DIFC in March, officials proposed to implement five initiatives over the following three months including waiving annual licence fees for new companies for three months, and a 10 per cent discount on renewal fees for existing licences during the same period.

It also decided to postpone payment plans for all commercial properties owned by DIFC Investments for six months.

Read: Covid-19: Dubai free zones offer stimulus package with rents postponed, fines cancelled

DIFC additionally said that it would reduce its ownership transfer fees from 5 per cent to 4 per cent for any property sale that occurs within the authorised three-month period, if ownership transfers are registered at DIFC within 30 days after the end of the three-month period.

It would also facilitate the free movement of labour in and out of the DIFC to other free zones, provided the concerned employers have the necessary arrangements and contracts in place with their employees.

On April 15, DIFC declared a three-month rent waiver on the base rent for business partners leasing out DIFC-owned assets within the financial freezone.

Read: Dubai’s DIFC offers three-month rent waiver to retailers

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