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Property Inheritance Laws: UAE and the West

Being one of the best property advocates of UAE, Dr. Hassan has successfully executed excellent results in providing legal advice and assistance on numerous inheritance matters and asset division disputes. 

Inheritance is a universal outcome after someone’s death. The death of a loved one from the family can often open up legal issues in terms of who will inherit the deceased’s belongings and in what proportion. There have been multiple cases all over the world, fighting over the ownership of the deceased’s belongings. Such cases arise when there’s no clear indication, like a will, that clearly identifies who will inherit the belongings. For people living in foreign countries, it is essential to understand the legalities of the host country and their effect on your controlling assets, and finally to be able to hand it over to your loved ones without legal complications.

The difference in the laws can actually affect how the belongings are divided amongst your family members.

Non-Muslim expatriates:

Expatriates make up for a major chunk of the population in UAE. With around 80% of the population being ex-pats, there are many people who invest in the country through property purchase and other assets. To be able to protect their own interests it is essential that they understand the cultural, legal and other social differences in the UAE.


The differences:

UAE follows the Sharia law while allowing some level of interpretation from Islamic scholars and judges. The western countries have a different culture compared to the UAE, and the legal systems are different too. Islamic law is considered sacred. Western laws are based on both theoretical and democratic concepts. The UAE’s legal structure on the other hand is highly dependent on religion and Islamic culture.


The inheritance law is a lot different in the west and the UAE. Inheritance in the west follows the wills of deceased persons. Compared to the inheritance law of Dubai, the focus is on distributing possession amongst the living relatives. They follow a strict method where the family members receive the deceased’s belongings based on their relationship with the deceased’s family, gender and status in the family. Islamic traditions focus heavily on redistributing the belongings of the deceased in this way.


For an ex-pat, the laws of your home country do apply in UAE as per the latest changes brought about in the Personal status law in UAE. However, you can still run into legal complications and significant delays. Therefore, you must take the legalities in UAE seriously when it comes to your final will and testament if you want it to be distributed according to the laws of your home country.



The difference in laws, culture and social structure of UAE compared to the west is quite significant. When it comes to inheritance, consider consulting an inheritance lawyer in Dubai to sort out the legalities behind who will inherit the belongings. With UAE favoring the Sharia lawFeature Articles, it is essential that you understand all the legalities before you write a will.

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After qualifying as a lawyer in his native Egypt within the fields of Criminal and Public Law, Dr. Mohsen Elhais has been practicing as a Legal Consultant in Dubai.

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