Although I write for the newspaper on a variety of legal topics, I only handle employment and commercial issues personally. Being a lawyer can be very difficult as it is, usually dealing with tension or differences, so I have the utmost respect to lawyers that handle family issues. I really urge you though if you have a family issue to resolve things amicably, to know what your rights are as a man, woman or child, but to always seek a quieter alternative. Even if you are to seek a lawyer always request from your lawyer to resolve things with dialogue and respect as family is really important. Like I mentioned, I am not a family lawyer but I can answer your legal question with the help of my hardworking team.
Question: Fortunately, my family comes from different religions and different backgrounds – which law will apply to us, should there be a family death?
Fajer: This depends greatly on who has passed away and where they are from, and whether the dead person has made a will or not. In Kuwait, Shiite and Sunni courts deal with inheritance differently. The matter is very complicated and it is not something that you want to find out at a time of mourning. This is why I always suggest for my clients to see a lawyer before anything happens and to ask these questions and to understand what law applies to them or what law they would like to be applied to them, so they have the full picture. I also suggest they hire a lawyer before anything happens, so when an unfortunate event takes place, they are prepared.
Question: I am not Kuwaiti but I would like to make a will for my wife to manage all my belongings in Kuwait should something happen to me in the future. Can I do this? Also if I am to travel outside of Kuwait and let my wife live here, can I have give her the right to handle my bank accounts, other properties and so on.
Fajer: Yes, you could, but this depends on what law applies to you or what law you have your marriage under. If the applicable law prohibits your wife from managing your wealth in Kuwait, then you could give her the right through the Kuwaiti courts or have the will written in your country but notarized in Kuwait.
As for your bank account and other properties, you could give your wife a POA (although not a power of attorney, it is referred to generally as a POA) and it is a document obtained from the Ministry of Justice to act on your behalf and you can personalize the document to fit your needs.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed