Tuesday, 10 October 2017

How non-Muslim expats can register their will in the UAE

My questions are related to the legal provisions for transferring my real estate and other property.

(1) I want my child to inherit all my property and bank accounts that I own in the UAE, but not in accordance with the Sharia law.

(2) Can I own a property in the UAE while being a resident in India and not holding a UAE resident permit?

(3) Can I dispose of my UAE immovable property from my home country?

Pursuant to your queries, in the UAE there are provisions for non-Muslims to opt for law of their country related to the personal affairs regarding marriage, wills and inheritance. We assume that all your properties (movable and properties) are based in the emirate of Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah.

Article 1(2) of the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 concerning personal status allows an expat non-Muslim to apply the provision of personal law of his home country.

It states: "The provisions of this law shall apply to the residents/citizens of the UAE unless the non-Muslims of them are subject to special provisions applicable to their sect and denomination, as long as none of them insists on applying his law."

Since you want your child to inherit your properties which includes both movable properties and immovable properties, it is advised to register a will at the DIFC Wills and Registry, which was set up in Dubai in 2015. The DIFC Wills will be non-Sharia compliant and the provisions of Common Law can be applied.

Further, if your property (both immovable and movable) are based in emirates other than Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah, it is recommended to draw up a non-Sharia will in favour of your child, notorised before the Notary Public subject to the approval of the Notary Public. Alternatively, this will may be attested by the Indian diplomatic mission in the UAE.

It is not mandatory to obtain a residence visa of the UAE to own a property. You may sell your property by granting a power of attorney to any person of your choice. This power of attorney should be suitably drafted considering the regulations of the UAE and should be notarised and legalised if such power of attorney is issued outside the UAE.

Know the law

"Article 1(2) of the Federal Law No. 28 of 2005 concerning personal status allows an expat non-Muslim to apply the provision of personal law of his home country."

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to:

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