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Can a non-Muslim have a will in the United Arab Emirates?

  • Publish date: Wednesday، 18 October 2023
Can a non-Muslim have a will in the United Arab Emirates?

Yes, non-Muslims can have a will in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In the UAE, there are different legal systems for Muslims and non-Muslims when it comes to matters of personal status and inheritance. The UAE follows a system of Sharia law for its Muslim citizens, which is administered by Sharia courts. For non-Muslims, including expatriates and foreigners living in the UAE, they have the option to have their matters, including wills and inheritance, governed by the laws of their home country or other legal systems.

Non-Muslim expatriates and residents can create a will by the laws of their home country or choose to have their will administered under the UAE legal system, which generally follows civil and commercial laws based on a combination of civil law and some elements of Islamic law.

It's important for non-Muslims in the UAE to consider their options and seek legal advice when creating a will to ensure that it complies with their wishes and the applicable legal framework. Additionally, wills are typically registered with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts or the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Courts if one wishes to ensure that their assets and estate are distributed according to their instructions.

Keep in mind that laws and regulations may change over time, so it's essential to consult with legal professionals or relevant authorities in the UAE for the most up-to-date information and guidance on creating a will as a non-Muslim resident.

Does the court in UAE accept a will from another country?

The courts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) generally do recognize wills created in other countries, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Requirements for Recognition: For a will created in another country to be recognized and accepted by the UAE courts, it typically needs to meet certain requirements. These requirements can vary depending on the emirate and the specific circumstances of the case. Generally, the will should be properly executed, comply with the laws of the home country, and not be in violation of UAE public policy.

  2. Legalization and Translation: Often, the will may need to be legalized or apostilled, depending on the legal requirements of the UAE, and translated into Arabic if it is in another language.

  3. Registration: If a non-Muslim expatriate or resident in the UAE wants their foreign will to be honored, it's advisable to register the will with the appropriate legal authorities in the UAE, such as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts or the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Courts. This can help ensure that the UAE courts will recognize and enforce the will according to the individual's wishes.

  4. Legal Advice: It's strongly recommended to seek legal advice from a lawyer experienced in UAE law when dealing with wills and estate matters. They can provide guidance on the specific requirements and steps necessary to have a foreign will recognized and enforced in the UAE.

  5. Consider Local Laws: Keep in mind that local laws and regulations in the UAE can change over time, and different emirates may have slightly different procedures and requirements. Therefore, it's important to stay informed and consult with legal professionals who are familiar with the current legal landscape.

In summary, UAE courts can recognize wills from other countries, but the process can be complex and may involve specific requirements to ensure the will is valid and enforceable in the UAE. It's advisable to consult with legal experts to navigate the process effectively and to make sure your wishes are properly documented and legally binding in the UAE.

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