Dubai Establishes New Department for Non-Muslim Inheritance

Dubai Courts has introduced a dedicated department to handle non-Muslims' inheritance cases and the execution of their wills, ensuring the application of their personal laws and efficient management of probate matters.

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Dubai Courts Launches Department for Non-Muslim Inheritance and Will Execution

The establishment of this department aims to streamline procedures for individuals, offering clarity and support in navigating inheritance-related issues. Judge Mohammed Al Shamsi, head of the Special Court of Inheritance in Dubai, outlined four scenarios in which cases can be brought to the new department, each requiring specific supporting documents.

Facilitating Non-Muslim Inheritance: Dubai Courts' Document Requirements

To initiate a case in the non-Muslim inheritance department, applicants must provide relevant documentation based on the specific circumstances. In the first instance, the required documents include a legal notice, an inventory of inheritance, and a legal or official document delineating the heirs and their respective shares. For the second case, applicants should submit an official document proving the existence of a will issued by Dubai Courts or other UAE courts, except for the Dubai International Financial Centre courts. In the absence of the aforementioned documents, a third scenario allows for a judicial ruling proving the death of the deceased and identifying the heirs. If the ruling is issued outside the UAE, it must be attested by the UAE Embassy in that country or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Lastly, if a will not issued by UAE courts is the basis for opening an inheritance file, the provisions of UAE law governing non-Muslim inheritance matters and will execution, as applied in Dubai, come into play.

Efficient Process and Single-Session System for Non-Muslim Inheritance Cases

The non-Muslim inheritance department follows a streamlined single-session system to expedite decision-making. After registering a lawsuit for the execution of the will, along with a certified copy of the applicable law, the director of the lawsuit ensures the completion of necessary documents, payment of judicial fees, schedules the nearest session, and notifies all parties mentioned in the will. The department aims to reach a decision on the request within one sitting. If further clarification or inquiries are required, a request is submitted to the court president for approval to open the file through the Wayak system, facilitating direct communication on cases between Dubai Courts' departments.

Dubai's Legal Framework for Non-Muslim Wills and Probate Matters

In 2017, Dubai implemented a comprehensive law governing wills and probate matters, encompassing both Muslims and non-Muslims in the emirate, including the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). This legislation empowers non-Muslims to prepare wills within a transparent legislative framework, ensuring the application of their personal laws. The law seeks to enhance litigation procedures related to wills and probate matters, simplifying processes and making them enforceable, thus promoting greater efficiency and clarity in resolving inheritance disputes. In August, Dubai established a specialized court to handle inheritance disputes involving Muslims and non-Muslims of all nationalities, offering an online registration system and aiming to achieve amicable settlements through the involvement of a preparatory judge.

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