1. What law governs the inheritance on the demise of UAE national or an expatriate?
In additionmain laws governing succession are Federal Law Number 5 of 1985 concerning the Civil Transactions Code (the Civil Law) and Federal Law Number 28 of 2005 regarding the Personal Status Law (the Personal Law).
Article 1(2) of the Personal Law states that the law will be applicable on all the citizens of UAE unless a non-Muslim foreign national have special provisions according to their community, which empowers the foreigner to have a choice of the law and avoid application of Shariah. Simultaneously, Article 17 of the Civil Law states that the inheritance will be governed by the law of the testator at the time of his death.
2. How the law of inheritance in UAE https://www.curabon.com/ from other jurisdictions?
The law of inheritance in UAE is extensive and accommodate everyone irrespective of their religion and nationality. The succession for Muslim is governed by the Law of Shariah, whereas, the non-Muslim is authorized to choose the law of their home country. The Law of Shariah is capable of alteration and further interpretation.
Further, being a civil law jurisdiction, the impact of precedents is null as compared to other common law jurisdictions. As opposed to other authorities, UAE does not follow the “right of survivorship” wherein the jointly-owned property will be given to the surviving owner, and the UAE courts have exclusive authority to decide upon such matters.
3. Under the law of inheritance, who holds the right to claim the deceased’s estate?
The heirs and descendants have the right to claim the estate of the deceased according to the Shariah Law for Muslims. Whereas, beneficiaries of the will can claim the estate in case of non-Muslims if there is a legally certified will. In case of a deceased Muslim, the estate will only be transferred to those who qualify as an heir under principles of Shariah.
The primary step for courts in the event of the death of a Muslim is to determine the heirs and reconfirm it through two male witnesses along with documentary proof such as marriage or birth certificates. According to the principles of Shariah, spouse, parents, children, grandchildren, siblings, grandparents (paternal), uncles/aunts, nephews/nieces are considered as heirs to the estate. It further imposes several conditions on who can become an heir mentioned as below: