Where There's a Will...
UAE succession law impose how an asset is distributed on death. It is not meant to be a scare tactic but it is a fact that whilst living in the UAE, Sharia Law is applied by the Courts of First Instance throughout the Emirates, which means that even if you have an existing Will that has been drawn up properly in your home country or domicile, it may not be accepted here.
Under the UAE Civil Transaction code, it states that inheritance would be decided by the law of the deceased at the time of death, this means that all assets would be distributed according to the law of his/her domicile. However, another article in the same states that those disposing of their real estate located in the UAE would be done as per the law of UAE.
Furthermore, the Central Bank has issued regulations requiring all banks to apply Sharia Law. The courts who apply this law, states that "the rules and principles of Islamic law shall be relied upon in the understanding, construction and interpretation of these provisions" to support their contention that distribution of real estate should be subject to Sharia Law. The principles of Islam dictate that assets are distributed as per these principles regardless of what is stated in the will of the deceased, which means that it does not matter what is stated in an Expatriate's will, the courts will apply the Sharia principles of forced heirship.
It is essential for non-Muslim expatriates to arrange to have a Sharia-protected will in order to financially protect their families in the event of a tragedy. If the husband is killed in an accident the UAE authorities will freeze all his assets held in the UAE such as bank accounts, credit cards, investments and inhibit any sale of property making for a very difficult financial situation for his spouse and children. After a long-drawn process the wife is only entitled to an eighth of the husband’s entire estate. By arranging for an attested will, where Europe Emirates Group can assist, you can ensure your estate in the UAE will be fully distributed to your family.
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