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UAE – Non-Muslims Exempted from Shariah based Inheritance

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The decision has been taken in view of the country’s diversity.

Dubai – The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) announced on May 4, a landmark legal initiative to enable non-Muslim expatriates owning assets in Dubai, a solution to secure their family’s succession and inheritance rights after their death, Khaleej Times reported.
With the introduction of new rules, the DIFC has become the first jurisdiction in the Middle East where a non-Muslim individual can register a will under the internationally recognised common law principles. At present, the distribution of assets of a deceased non-Muslim expatriate is guided by Shariah-based UAE federal laws, including the Personal Status Law, Civil Transactions Code and by public order.
In line with the initiative, the DIFC launched “Wills and Probate Registry” to provide non-Muslim expatriates a facility to register English language wills that will allow their assets to be transferred upon death in line with their wishes. The Registry, established in 2014, was set up under the directives of Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the DIFC, as part of the initiatives of the Dispute Resolution Authority. Essa Kazim, Governor of the DIFC, said the DIFC Wills and Probate Registry is a first for the Middle East and Africa region.
“The new Registry reflects respect for the diversity of the UAE community and the keenness of our country to provide new frameworks for strengthening the legal environment in line with the community’s needs and requirements. The initiative confirms the country’s leadership in various sectors and further enhances Dubai’s attractiveness as a destination for investment, supporting greater economic growth, stability and prosperity.”