Presidential changes to UAE Criminal, Civil and Personal Status Laws

Presidential changes to UAE Criminal, Civil and Personal Status Laws

Dispute Resolution

Specifically, UAE Wills and Inheritance matters are once again at the centre of public interest following the Presidential decree.

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, announced a number of sweeping amendments, effective immediately, to existing Federal Laws.
Matters governing personal relationships and the division of assets upon death have been reviewed and revised – divorce, separation, cohabitation between unmarried partners, alcohol consumption and Inheritance are all affected by the reforms.
Although we await the release of further details and the official amendments, undoubtedly the progressive measures seek to solidify the UAE Government’s commitment to encourage and promote the country as the destination of choice for living, working, investing and retiring.
Building on the widespread impact of the recently announced Retirement visa and the Virtual Working Programme for Overseas Professionals, amendments to the local inheritance laws will further enhance the UAE’s appeal as a flawless jurisdiction not only to retire in, but also to work from if employed by an overseas company. 
UAE Inheritance laws have, over the last five years, gone through a significant development cycle, from the formation of the DIFC Wills Service Centre allowing non-Muslims to register Wills in accordance with Common laws for UAE-based assets, to the legal recognition of local Trust and Foundation regimes, and more recently, the introduction of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department’s Non-Muslim Wills Centre. 
Individuals who wish to control Succession of their local assets now have a number of choices available in terms of asset-protection tools, all introduced and endorsed by the local Government. Recent announcements will further enhance these developments.

The above is a summary of the new provisions introduced. A more in-depth update will follow once the decrees have been published in the official Gazette.

This is a general guide on the subject matter and should not be construed as specific legal advice.

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