16 Jul 2023

New Inheritance rules for Non-Muslim Expats In The United Arab Emirates.

A new Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 on Civil Personal Status of all non-Muslim to be enforced from February, 2023.

Which people are concerned by the new federal personal status law ?

The new Federal Decree-Law No. 41 of 2022 governs the following :

  • Non-Muslim citizens of the UAE
  • Non-Muslim expatriates and residents of the UAE, unless one of them insists that the law of their own country be applied in matters related inheritance and wills.

What does the new law say on matters of wills ?

With the new law, Non-Muslims will be allowed to give their assets to anyone they wish. 

Also, the new legislation allows for both spouses to complete a will registration form while finalizing their marriage contract, outlining the distribution of their assets in the event of their death.

What is stated in the new law regarding inheritance ?

Law No. 41 deals the determination of Inheritance for non-Muslims and removes the traditional default distribution which includes an unequal distribution between males and females.

Under the reforms, in the absence of a valid Will : 

  • Half (1/2) of the estate shall be inherited by a surviving spouse.
  • Should the deceased leave any surviving children, the remainder of the estate shall be distributed equally among the children with no differentiation between males and females. 
  • In the event that a deceased leaves no children, the estate shall be divided equally to the surviving parents.
  • Should only one parent remain, the estate shall be distributed equally between said parent and surviving siblings of the deceased, equally. 
  • In the event where both parents have passed away, the estate shall be divided equally, amongst the surviving siblings, with no distinction between brothers and sisters.

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Disclaimer : The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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