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What Happens to Your Assets Without a Will in Dubai ?

Dubai, the glittering jewel of the United Arab Emirates, is a city known for its opulence, fast-paced lifestyle, and thriving economy. It attracts people from all over the world who come to seek their fortunes, build businesses, and create a life in this vibrant metropolis. However, many expatriates and even locals are unaware of the legal intricacies surrounding inheritance and the distribution of assets in Dubai.

In this blog post, we will explore what happens to your assets in Dubai if you pass away without a will. Understanding these rules is crucial to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and to avoid potential legal complications for your loved ones.

What Happens to Your Assets Without a Will in Dubai ?

The Importance of a Will in Dubai

A will is a legally binding document that outlines how your assets should be distributed after your death. It allows you to specify who should inherit your assets, in what proportion, and under what conditions. Creating a will in Dubai is essential, as it provides you with control over your estate’s destiny, ensuring that your loved ones are taken care of according to your preferences.

However, if you die without a will in Dubai, the distribution of your assets will be governed by the UAE’s Sharia law, which may not align with your wishes and could lead to unintended consequences.

Distribution of Assets under Sharia Law

Sharia law, the Islamic legal system derived from the Quran and Hadith, plays a significant role in the legal framework of the UAE, including Dubai. When a person dies without a will in Dubai, their assets are distributed among their heirs according to Sharia principles.

Here is a simplified overview of how assets are distributed under Sharia law in Dubai:

  1. Legal Heirs: In Dubai, legal heirs typically include the spouse, children, parents, and, in some cases, grandparents. Stepchildren and adopted children may also be considered legal heirs.
  2. Distribution Shares: The distribution of assets depends on the number and type of legal heirs. For instance, if the deceased has a surviving spouse and children, the spouse is entitled to a share of one-eighth of the estate, while the children collectively inherit the remaining shares. The exact distribution can vary depending on the specific circumstances.
  3. Non-Muslims: Non-Muslims living in Dubai can also be subject to Sharia law in matters of inheritance if they do not have a valid will. However, they may have some flexibility to request the application of their home country’s laws in certain cases.
  4. Inheritance for Women: Under Sharia law, women can inherit, but their share is generally half that of a male heir in certain situations. However, this can vary based on factors such as family circumstances and legal interpretations.
  5. Debts and Liabilities: Before distributing assets, any outstanding debts and liabilities of the deceased must be settled from the estate.

Dying without a will in Dubai can lead to several challenges and considerations:

  1. Lack of Control: Without a will, you have no say in how your assets are divided. This may result in assets going to heirs you did not intend to benefit.
  2. Protracted Legal Proceedings: Inheritance cases can be complex and may lead to lengthy legal battles among heirs, causing emotional distress and financial strain on your loved ones.
  3. Non-Muslims: Non-Muslims should be aware that their home country’s laws may not necessarily be recognized or applied in Dubai, making it crucial to create a will to protect their assets.
  4. Minor Children: If you have minor children and die without a will, the court will appoint a guardian for them, potentially without considering your preferences.

Get help from Legal House :

Secure your legacy in the UAE with a professionally crafted will. At Legal House Legal Consulting Firm, our registered legal experts simplify the process, resolve disputes, and ensure your family’s assets are protected. Book your consultation today for peace of mind. We can also provide expert guidance on drafting wills and commercial contracts that adhere to local laws and regulations, ensuring the business owner’s intentions are legally protected.


1. Why is it important for businesses in Dubai to have a will in place?

  • A will ensures a clear plan for the distribution of business assets in the event of an owner’s passing, preventing potential disputes and disruptions.

2. What happens if a business owner in Dubai passes away without a will?

  • Without a will, the business owner’s shares or assets may be distributed according to Sharia law, potentially impacting business continuity and ownership.

3. Can a business owner specify in their will how their business should be managed after their passing?

  • Yes, a will can include provisions on how the business should be managed, who should take over, and the distribution of shares among heirs.

4. Are there tax implications for businesses in Dubai related to inheritance without a will?

  • Yes, inheritance tax and other financial implications may arise if a business owner passes away without a will. Legal consultancies can advise on tax planning.

5. Can a business owner designate a successor in their will for key management positions?

  • Yes, a will can designate successors for key roles within the business, helping ensure a smooth transition.

6. What steps should a business take to ensure their will is legally valid in Dubai?

  • Legal experts like us can assist in ensuring that the will complies with all legal requirements, including proper registration with relevant authorities.Also can help businesses review and update their wills as needed to accommodate changes in ownership or management structures.

7. What are the potential consequences of not seeking legal consultancy for will drafting in Dubai?

  • Without professional legal guidance, businesses risk complications, disputes, and unintended consequences in asset distribution, which can adversely affect the company’s stability.

8. In what manner is the new inheritance law in Dubai applicable to non-Muslims?

  • The new inheritance law applies to non-Muslims in a manner that allows them to opt for their home country’s laws or the UAE’s personal status law for inheritance matters.

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