Inheritance Provisions in Pakistan

Inheritance provisions in Pakistan are based on religious affiliation. All people of sound mind, regardless of their nationality or residence, have the legal right to inherit property in Pakistan. However, what property someone is entitled to depends on whether the deceased was a Christian, Hindu, or Muslim.

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Inheritance Provisions in Pakistan

When it comes to Muslim inheritance, the rules and regulations vary depending on the sect or sub- sect of the deceased, such as Cutchi Memon, Khoja, Sunni or Shia. The court that presides over these matters is also decided based on the domicile of the deceased. If there is any dispute over this information, or if the domicile is unknown, then the court will preside based on where the property is located. For example, if the property is located in Pakistan, then a Civil District Court or High Court would be competent to handle any inheritance issues.

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National laws may apply to non-Muslims living outside of Pakistan

If a non-Muslim foreigner dies, and their national law states that the applicable inheritance law is that of the country where the deceased is domiciled, or the country where the deceased’s property is located, then the laws of that country will be applied in Pakistan. If a Hindu or Christian with assets in Pakistan died while living outside of Pakistan, then the courts in Pakistan would usually distribute the assets according to the provisions of the foreigner’s national inheritance law.

Muslims must follow Muslim Law, regardless of whether they live in Pakistan or not.

The courts in Pakistan can only apply Muslim inheritance law in the case of succession to the estate of a Muslim, regardless of the domicile or nationality of the deceased. If a Muslim citizen of Pakistan dies while domiciled in a foreign country, then the laws of his domicile cannot be applied to his estate in Pakistan. The Muslim Law of inheritance in Pakistan is based on intestate succession, which means that there is no concept of a will and all shares are distributed to legal heirs according to the law. The distribution of an inheritance among legal heirs is based on the closeness of the relationship between the heir and the deceased. Blood relatives have the closest ties, so they typically receive the largest shares. It's not possible to provide a simple summary of how these shares are distributed, because it depends on how many children, siblings, parents, and other relatives the deceased person had. Each case is different. It's not uncommon for a man's share of the inheritance to be twice that of a woman. Usually, any gifts given by the woman's fiancé are hers alone and her husband wouldn't have any legal claims to it, even after marriage. Once she's married, she's entitled to receive a marriage gift called "Mehar" which would be her own property. Under Muslim law, an heir's absolute interest in specific shares of their ancestor's estate vests immediately upon the ancestor's death, without regard to the time of distribution. Succession thus opens at the position prevailing at the moment of death of the ancestor. Additionally, "vested inheritance" may occur if, for example, an heir dies before distribution but was alive when the ancestor died; in this case, the share of their vested inheritance passes on to their own heirs. Personal property can be donated by a Pakistani Muslim during his or her lifetime. The decision cannot be challenged by anyone, including the legitimate heirs, after the death of the donor.

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