Inheritance rules according to Islamic Law

The interpretation of inheritance laws and how they are applied by the UAE courts is an issue of interest to many expats.

The main questions are whether the inheritance laws in the home country prevail over UAE Sharia.

A system of Islamic laws based on the Qur’an regarding inheritance, whereby distributions are according to fixed share ratios and whether the laws of the Emirates apply to UAE nationals only, or to all Muslim and non-Muslim expatriates regardless of nationalities and religion.

How are the UAE assets of non-Muslims treated and can a non-Muslim make a will under UAE Federal Law?

UAE law has long recognized a documented will of non-Muslims. With respect to movable assets located in the UAE, a non-Muslim individual can make a will, in accordance with the law of the testator’s country, but the application of such a will is at the full discretion of the UAE courts. In the absence of a will at the time of death, the courts in the UAE are bound by Sharia.

Regarding immovable property owned by non-Muslims in the UAE, there are some basic conflicting provisions of the legislation Personal Status Law Number 28 of 2005 (Personal Status Law) and Federal Law Number 5/1985 (Civil Transactions Law).

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