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family law

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November 01, 2017


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Family matters Q&As: does my expatriate father's will apply in the UAE?

Question: We are Asian expatriates. My father issued a Will, which is against the UAE laws. Can this Will be executed in the UAE?

Answer: To answer the question, we have to differentiate between two types of assets; movable - these can be subject to your country's law - and immovable, which are subject to UAE laws. In case of immovable assets, your father’s 'will' will not be applied, because it’s against the UAE laws, which prohibits giving will to one of the heirs, which has to apply in the real estate matters. But for the movable assets, if the will is valid under your father’s country law, then you can apply this in the UAE to consider this will as valid one.

Question: I am a European expatriate with dual citizenship. My wife filed a family case against me. Can I apply laws of the nationalities I belong to?

Answer: In general, when there is a family dispute, it has to be decided under the UAE laws. However article no. 1/2 gives any of the spouses the right to request to apply his own law. But this rule has some exceptions. Such as, in case, one of the spouses is holding two nationalities, then he cannot apply any of them. Article 24 of Law No 5 of 1985 indicates that in case there are more than one nationalities, UAE law has to apply.

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