Dubai - Certificate of Heirship

We have an estate with assets in Dubia. The deceased was UK domiciled and left an English Will. We understand the Will is not recognised in UAE and the assets in Dubai will pass in accordance with Sharia Law. We have been asked to supply a “certificate of heirship from the UK, legalized and translated into Arabic”. As the Grant of Probate does not confirm this, and the will is not recognised, it would seem that we do not have an equivalent of this in England and Wales. Has anyone else been asked to supply this certificate and if so, what did you supply in leiu of a Certificate of Heirship.

Eleanor Holland
The Wilkes Parftnership

I would suggest an Affidavit of English law from an English practitioner, duly translated.

Cliona O’Tuama

We also have a deceased who had assets in Dubai. The local lawyers advised not seeking to have the English Will used as the basis for applying in the Dubai Courts for a local Succession Certificate based upon Sharia law. The local Sharia law court procedure is much quicker than seeking to have an English Will recognised which can be extremely expensive, and take 12 - 24 months before the Courts in Dubai will issue the Succession Order. It is much better to go the Sharia Law route, and then have any Beneficiaries under Sharia law waive their rights to inherit in favour of the Beneficiaries under the English Will. This of course only wrks if everyone is happy as otherwise a difficult or unexpected beneficiary may hold the deceased’s estate to ransom.
Sorry that we are unable to be more helpful at this time, other than advise clients to have all Dubai assets held in the name of a company incorporated outside Dubai, as this then avoids Sharia Inheritance laws in Dubai (provided that the company is incorporated in a jurisdiction that recognises the provisions of English Wills and Grants of Probate), but there is the annual running costs of such company.

Peter Double / Probate Resealing Services.

Are there not grounds for saying the movable assets in Dubai pass under the UK Will? Has anyone succeeded in such a claim in the courts?

Simon Northcott

We have been advised that Sharia law applies to the movables in Dubai.

This means a local application to the Dubai Courts, and as mentioned it
is not advisable to insist upon the provisions of the English Will before
the Dubai Courts because of the delays and extra costs involved in seeking
to insist upon having the English Will proven in the Dubai Courts.

There is apparently nothing to prevent the beneficiaries under Sharia law
agreeing to distribute the movables in Dubai in accrdance with the
provisions of the English Will.

Peter Double / Probate Resealing Services.

You might want to contact one of the following local Dubai based lawyers who will be able to advise, they see this issue a lot. STEP Arabia has also been quite active in this area too.

In alphabetical order…

Diana Hamade
Attorney At Law
UAE Courts & DIFC Courts
International Advocate Legal Services

Tasleem Sayani
Solicitor, regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (England & Wales)
James Berry & Associates |

Cynthia Trench
Trench & Associates

Fiona McClafferty

You are not required to provide a certificate of Heirship. All you need to provide is a death certificate together with Powers of Attorney from the Heirs. The Sharia judge in Dubai will decide who are the heirs upon hearing the witnesses and then distribute the inheritance as per Sharia rules.

Diana HamaIde
International Advocate Legal Services

Indeed. Nothing will prevent the beneficiaries from agreeing any settlement.

Diana HamaIde
International Advocate Legal Services