How to get your Dubai life admin in order

From writing your will to sorting out your finances, plan ahead while you can.

Sean Hird January 24, 2017

Of all the New Year resolutions you considered and have possibly stuck to this month, one that many in Dubai and the wider UAE – particularly expats – will have in common is getting your life admin in order.

We asked Sean Hird, director at DIFC Wills & Probate Registry (WPR), to discuss the benefit of striking a balance between living the expat dream and getting your life in order. As he says, “the two do not need to be mutually exclusive”.


A wise man once said that “what you plant now, you will harvest later.” By encouraging yourself to think more long-term, you stand to benefit tenfold in the future for every life admin task you can tick off the list today. 

However, many expats in Dubai are falling into the ‘Dubai Bubble’ trap and, more often than not, are failing to plan adequately for the long-term. Serious life admin such as a will, pension or an insurance plan, often falls by the wayside when the alternative is spending your hard-earned cash on a brunch or a staycation in a glitzy hotel.

WPR recently carried out a consumer poll to find out which life admin tasks people were planning to tackle in 2017. Not surprisingly WPR discovered that long-term benefits, such as setting up a will, came last on the list behind a family holiday (58 per cent) or buying a new car (20 per cent).

The phrase ‘we only planned to live here for a year or two’ is a familiar one and, as our recent consumer poll confirms, 64 per cent of expats stay in Dubai significantly longer than they had originally thought. A staggering one in 10 people stayed 20 years longer than they expected! Don’t be fooled into thinking it could never happen to you. 

The findings highlight a huge gap between people’s beliefs about their future in Dubai and their everyday reality, and also shed light on the importance of how many of us easily oversee what may be a priority in the future as we live day-to-day.

Always be aware of your options and don’t be dissuaded by the idea that getting your life admin in order is somehow too difficult or excessively time consuming. Start with one task, and then move onto the next. For example, The Registry has a set of simple and standardised rules that makes the process of registering a will as convenient and efficient as possible; all of the documentation and process can be completed in just one hour.

And if it is the cost that is putting you off, WPR has partnered with a number of leading national and international banks to offer easy zero per cent payment plans tolighten the financial burden of the will registration. Since we opened in DIFC last May we have already registered nearly 2,000 wills. Take an hour out of your day to make sure you join them. Avoid leaving life admin too late; plan ahead while you can.

The saying “the action you will take today, will define tomorrow” is a good mantra for anyone looking to get ahead with his or her life admin in 2017. 

The DIFC Wills and Probate Registry (WPR) is a public entity of the Dubai Government and an ancillary body of DIFC’s Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA).