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The Civil Law and the Personal Status Law govern issues of inheritance in UAE. INHERITANCE IN DUBAI Both laws have the essence of Sharia principles and do not recognize the right of survivorship.  According to Sharia Law, the estate of the deceased will devolve among the heirs after deducting the funeral expenses of the UAE national. Muslim people can also choose to draft a will. It should be kept in mind that only one-third of their property can be bequeathed through a will. In case the testator wants to devolve more than one-third of his property via will, written consent from all other heirs has to be taken.

Expats should not die intestate

Indeed, UAE law does not mandate expatriates to write wills but the expats can choose to draft wills and divide & distribute their assets by following the laws of their native country. But here is the catch! If the expat dies without drafting a will, then Inheritance Courts can split his possessions according to the Sharia principles and UAE laws. Even after an amendment in inheritance law, the home country law does not apply to real estate belonging to the expatriate, therefore, expats are suggested to draft a will before D-day. This way, the estate will be received only by the person whose name is mentioned in the registered will document.

Recipients of Estate under Sharia Rules

The heirs are as follows: children, cousins, spouse, aunts and uncles, siblings, grandchildren and grandparents. The law also gives a list of persons who are barred to receive the estate of the deceased. These are as follows:

  1. A non-Muslim
  2. An adopted or illegitimate child
  3. Divorced women not observing iddah
  4. Murderer (murdered for the estate)

It is pointed out by our family lawyers in Dubai that money in bank accounts of the spouse, joint or separate, will be frozen and not be given to the spouse until the court orders to do so.


Sharia principles are the basis for Inheritance Law in Dubai. On the other hand, The will must be registered and notarized in UAE to have a legal application. BSB Legal Consultants is one of the best law firms in Dubai. We have a team of top lawyers and legal consultants possessing comprehensive knowledge of family and local laws. We promise to give our clients expert advice on child custody, alimony, divorce, inheritance and other matters of family law. Book your free legal consultation in Dubai through info@bsb.legal or call +971 508014003. We will respond to your enquiry without wasting a minute!