5 Steps to Write Your Will


Creating a will is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your loved ones and ensure your wishes are honoured after your passing. As a British expatriate living in Dubai, understanding the legal landscape is crucial to drafting a will or wills that comply with both English law and local regulations. This article will walk you through the five essential steps to write your will, providing you with peace of mind and safeguarding your family’s future.


  1. List Your Assets & Liabilities


Your estate is everything you own less everything you owe worldwide. One of the criteria for establishing the validity of an English will is that the person writing their will should understand what assets they have and the effect of the will on those assets.

There are US$200 Billion in unclaimed assets around the world, don’t add to this huge sum at the expense of your heirs.


  1. Executor


This is a trusted person to administer your estate. This is a responsible role. The person should be good with bureaucracy and patient. They will be responsible to the court and the beneficiaries for the payment of taxes and distribution of your estate according to your will.

Most couples appoint each other and a reserve who may be a sibling or close friend.


  1. Beneficiaries


These are the people you want to benefit from your estate. Most married couples with children want 100% of their estate to pass to the surviving spouse and when both have died the children are to inherit equally. Although there are circumstances where this may not be the case, for example where there are children from an earlier relationship; a child is in a “bad” relationship or they are vulnerable and need care.

A will also allows you to choose when a beneficiary will receive their inheritance. For example, under English law unless stated otherwise orphaned children inherit on their 18th birthday. Most parents consider this to be too young. They want their children to concentrate on studying or to develop a work-ethic.

Some people want to make specific bequests such as family heirlooms to specific people or financial gifts to charities do work they want to support.

That which is left after specific gifts is referred to as the residuary and is usually split by percentage shares or equally amongst the chosen beneficiaries.


  1. Guardians


If you have minor children, appointing guardians is one of the most important decisions you will make in your will. Guardians will be responsible for the care and upbringing of your children in the event of your passing. Choose individuals who share your values and whom you trust implicitly. Discuss your decision with potential guardians beforehand to ensure they are willing and able to take on this role.


  1. Drafting the Will


Having completed steps 1 to 4, you are ready to draft your will.

With the guidance of your legal expert, you can now draft your will. Ensure that all your decisions regarding assets, beneficiaries, executors, and guardians are clearly documented. Your legal expert will help you with the precise wording and structure to ensure your will is legally sound.


Professional Advice

UK Government Funded website, moneyhelper.org, states that where you have assets outside of the UK you should seek professional advice. International Law is a complex area. Using professionals saves you time, reduces the amount of effort you have to put into the process, reduces risk and saves money.


Witnessing the Will

For your will to be valid, it must be signed and witnessed. In the presence of two witnesses, you will need to sign the will, and the witnesses must also sign it. The witnesses should be independent, meaning they should not be beneficiaries of the will.


Registering Your Will

In Dubai, non-Muslims can register their wills with the DIFC Wills Service Centre, which offers an additional layer of legal security and recognition. Registration helps prevent disputes and ensures that your will is easily accessible when needed. Your legal expert can assist with the registration process, ensuring that all formalities are correctly followed.



Writing a will is a critical step in ensuring that your wishes are honoured and your loved ones are protected after your passing. By consulting a legal expert, listing your assets, deciding on beneficiaries, appointing executors and guardians, and properly drafting and registering your will, you can achieve peace of mind and provide clear guidance for your family. Don’t wait—take these steps today to secure your legacy and protect those who matter most to you.