Resident Guide | Legal Issues

Your share of inheritance

Sharia courts in the country implement laws regarding inheritance and distribution of the wealth and money of a deceased Muslim.

  • By Bassma Al Jandaly, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 01:03 June 20, 2009

Legal issues
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Muslim residents can prepare their will and register it at the Sharia Court.

Dubai: Muslim residents can prepare their will (wasiya) in accordance with the Sharia and get it registered at the Sharia Court. However, the share of the heirs is set by the Quran so there is no need to define the shares of the inheritors.

You can give a gift but it should not exceed one-third of the net estate and in agreement with the legal heirs.According to Federal Personal Affairs Law Number 28, 2005, when a Muslim dies and leaves behind money and property, there are obligations which are needed to be undertaken before distributing the inheritance money.

Obligations

The first step is the payment for the person's funeral expenses. (In the UAE, the funeral expenses of a Muslim are paid by the government).

Next is the payment of debts such as the wife's dowry (mahr), zakat and loans taken.

Then comes the reading of the will (wasiya) according to Article No. 272 of the law.

The last step is the distribution of the remaining assets between the heirs according to Article No. 320 of the UAE Personal Affairs Law which says the shares of the inheritance that are prescribed in the Quran to those who are entitled to receive it.

Then whatever remains should be given to the closest male relative of the deceased.

According to Article No. 321, certain heirs referred to as primary heirs, are always entitled to a share of the inheritance, they are the spouse, both parents, the son and the daughter.

The UAE Personal Affairs Law allows the inheritance between Muslims of different sects such as Sunni, Shiite or Alawi.

The brother inherits twice as much as a sister; a son's son inherits twice as much as a son's daughter. The descendants of the mother, brother and sister inherit equally as do their descendants.

Widow's quarter

If there are more than two daughters, then they get two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there is only one, then she gets half.

The parents of the dead person get one-sixth of the inheritance, if he has a child, but if he does not have a child, the parents are the heirs, then the mother gets one-third.

The share of the widow is one-quarter in the absence of a child or grandchild, and one-eighth if there is a child. Two or more wives share equally in this prescribed share.

When a woman dies leaving behind a husband and both parents as the only legal heirs, then the husband inherits one-half of the estate; the father inherits one-third and the mother one-sixth.

If he does not have a child, the parents are the heirs and then the mother gets one-third.

A brother or a sister of the deceased gets one-sixth of the inheritance. But if there many siblings they get one-third equally. Siblings are brothers with the same mother but different fathers.