When to Give Inheritance Money to Your Family as per the UAE Law?

family law


August 17, 2021



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The right answer to this question is to ensure that you have a registered will at hand so that your wishes are protected as per the UAE inheritance law. This is the simplest way for expatriates to ensure that their assets are dealt with as per their express intent in their country of residence in the UAE.

According to the latest amendments made to the inheritance laws in the UAE, it is now possible for expatriates to apply the law of their home country for inheritance matters, including specifying the choice of law as part of their will. In the instance wherein no will have been created or registered, the laws of the deceased nationality will apply. This should not be understood in a way that reduces the importance of having a registered will in place. In this article, we would like to guide you on the major reasons why you must have a registered will in place while residing in the UAE.

Before these amendments, in the absence of a registered 'Will', the UAE courts used to apply the principles of Sharia succession to decide inheritance matters. This led to the potential conflict between the actual intention of the deceased and the ultimate division of the property according to the Sharia principles. Now with the new changes, these issues have been overcome to a certain extent. However, for a variety of reasons, it is still critical that a legal complaint ‘will’ be created and registered in the UAE.

When a will is registered in the UAE, it allows the testator of the will to have peace of mind, and it ensures a smooth transaction as opposed to ambiguity. In the absence of the same, the following undesirable process may apply by default:

  • Possibility of immediate freezing of the bank accounts, whether it be a joint bank account or an individual bank account.
  • Possibility of freezing of investments made in the UAE.
  • Possibility of facing a prolonged and costly litigation process if the assets are disputed amongst family members.

Therefore, it is always advisable to have a registered will in place in the UAE, especially when you hold assets in the UAE. It is also advisable to note that when an expatriate owns real estate property in the UAE, the UAE law will still apply irrespective of the national law of the ex-pat, and therefore, it is highly recommendable to consider this while drafting a will. The latest amendments made in the UAE laws have brought much clarity to issues of conflict of laws as were being experienced previously. This has been a very welcome change and provides peace of mind to the millions of expatriates who call the UAE their home, who can see the application of the laws of their home country as opposed to an automatic application of the Sharia principles.

Legal Update:

The introduction of a new personal status law for the non-Muslims effective February 2023, the Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status, brings with itself numerous changes in terms of marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance etc. Following the issuance of the Abu Dhabi Personal Status Law for non-Muslim Foreigners in 2021, the federal government came out with a Personal Status Law that would apply to the entire non-Muslim population of the UAE, whether citizens or expatriates.

This New Federal Law has introduced changes in personal status matters for non-Muslims in matters related to family guidance mediation, rights between the parties concerning testimony, inheritance, divorce, calculation of time-based on the Gregorian calendar, and joint custody of children. The New Federal Law has introduced civil marriage at a federal level and provided equal rights to parties in requesting the divorce. The New Federal Law covers matters related to alimony, custody, inheritance, and parentage and shall be applied between non-Muslim expatriate residents in case none of them wanted to apply his/her home country's law in the UAE.

Under the New Federal Law, there is no concept of forced heirship, a person subject to the New Federal Law has testamentary freedom subject to the rules of the implementing executive regulations. If a person dies intestate, half of the inheritance shall go to the surviving spouse, and the remaining shall be distributed equally between the children without any difference between a girl or a boy. The New Federal Law provides details of distribution in various other scenarios as well when the surviving heirs are other than children and spouses. To know more information about this law, please feel free to click this link.

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Disclaimer: There have been recent changes/amendments in the provisions of the UAE Family Law covered in the content on this website. The views and opinions in the articles are contemporaneous with the time of its publication only and do not necessarily address any matters after the recent amendments of the law or supreme court decisions issued after the date of this publication. The content of this website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments. Such content is designed only to give general information on the developments actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of recent developments in the law, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice or render a legal opinion. Since the law is constantly changing and since the law will vary based on different facts and circumstances, statements on this website regarding the status of a given law or legal issue may not be current or applicable to your particular situation. You should not take any action based on the information in this website. Each legal issue depends on its individual facts and different matters have different laws and regulations. We may make changes to the features, functionality or content of the website at any time.


Hi , A quick question , how can i raise awareness or a complain to investigate a false deceased, to avoid fraudulent claims.
uche jenevieve ibe
You may get in touch with our lawyers and share more information about this matter to take legal consultation. If you would like to schedule a meeting, please do not hesitate to contact us. I look forward to hearing from you.

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