Changes to Non-Muslim Inheritance law in the UAE – Enforcement of Foreign Wills

Changes to Non-Muslim Inheritance law in the UAE – Enforcement of Foreign Wills

Wills, Estates and Succession Planning

The enactment of Federal Decree – Law No. (41) of 2022 on Civil Personal Status, which has been in force since the 1st of February 2023 has certainly been a huge step in the right direction for many of us residing in the UAE. The above relates to UAE Non-Muslim residents who pass away in the UAE without having concluded a valid will.  Many questions arise following this enactment, such as whether a legally concluded foreign will is accepted in the UAE.

The courts have reportedly announced the inauguration of an inheritance department specifically aimed at non-Muslim individuals. The focus of this establishment is to provide individuals with clear statutory provisions and guidance, which should enable them to apply the laws of their respective home countries during the probate procedure.
This inauguration is said to simplify the current process, and non-Muslim applications as they relate to such enforcement may be accepted under a certain set of conditions and controls. An Estate File must be opened upon request by a person with a vested right in the estate for example.

As a general approach, and further to the enactment of statutory provisions confirming the above, the current stance is that each matter must be viewed by its own merits, after which the court may confirm the necessary documents required to proceed.

By way of recap, on the 1st of February 2023 the strict application of Sharia Law to all non-Muslim residents in the UAE was altered to make provision for the automatic inclusion of a spouse, children, parents, and siblings. This closely resembles the statutory framework on intestate succession of many common-law countries.

The article thereto may be found below:

2023 Changes to Inheritance Law

We will provide further information as the legislative framework develops.

This article is an overview of the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. For specific advice in relation to any of the issues highlighted above, please contact Romano Xavier Dolbey of the Wills and Inheritance Department