In the United Arab Emirates, succession planning or inheritance for Muslim nationals is guided by Sharia laws (a system of Islamic law based on the Quran). Sharia is not a codified law and is capable of adaption, development and further interpretation. The authorities can allow the application of the law of the deceased’s home country for non-Muslim expatriates, solely, with business in Dubai. One or more judges hear matters of inheritance coming before the Dubai courts without juries’ presence, as they are not part of the legal system. Furthermore, unlike in some Western jurisdictions, there is no system of compulsory precedent in Dubai or across The United Arab Emirates.
(Non-Muslim) Expats and Succession Law
Many expatriates in the United Arab Emirates are unacquainted with the fact that in the lack of a will that the Emirati legal system can recognize, the process and procedures of distributing and transferring real estate assets after decease can take a lot of time, and much expense. The process is known to be exorbitant costly and tiring with legal complication, especially for those who are not familiar with the legal system. In the absence of a registered will, the binding rules under Islamic law organize the division of assets and any division to the heirs occurs after paying off debts.
Ideally, the spouse, son, daughter, parents and siblings would inherit a portion of the estate. Although this denotes the default situation that applies to all Muslims disregarding their nationality, there is another choice of not following those rules for non-Muslims and expatriates upon their request. The UAE Civil Code as defined by Article 17 (1), which states “inheritance shall be governed by the law of the deceased at the time of his death” specifies that the law of the home country of a non-Muslim can be taken in consideration and applied to matters of succession and inheritance. Nonetheless, the Inheritance Court must first approve the will, which is a process greatly accelerated if the will is already translated into Arabic and certified for authenticity (notarized) in the UAE or registered in a Dubai court.
DIFC Will Notarization and Guardianship
DIFC Will Launched few years ago, DIFC Resolution No. 4 of 2014, allows the registration of the non-Muslims wills in respect of Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah real estate assets, aligning with the Real Estate governmental Guide to VAT Law, with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Wills Service. This allows individuals to have testamentary freedom to position their possessions as they wish by support of a simple certification process before the DIFC courts, which offer guardianship will, property will, full will and free zone Company will.
At IBG, our goal is not just to run around doing paperwork. We endeavor to add value to clients saving them time going back and forth to authorities. We can provide consultancy on Succession planning for real estate, Real Estate VAT auditing and evaluation. We have a record of successful experienced consultants that have handled hundreds of cases and are familiar with the legal structures and processes in place, that they have developed a suite of tools that makes processing more rapid and more efficient. There are various things that we can do to assist you. Get in touch with one of our consultants today.