Under the UAE constitution, Shaikh Maktum, who is also prime minister, will take on the powers and duties of the head of state until the Supreme Federal Council, which is made up of the rulers of the seven emirates in the Gulf federation, selects Shaikh Zayid's successor. The emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujaira, Ras al-Khaymah and Um al-Quwayn.
The successor must be chosen from among the seven rulers within a month for a five-year mandate.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayid Al Nahyan, eldest son of the deceased president, has automatically succeeded his father as ruler of Abu Dhabi, the biggest and wealthiest emirate of the oil-rich federation.
Abu Dhabi Deputy Crown Prince Shaikh Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nahayan now becomes crown prince.
Shaikh Zayid, who was in his late 80s and had ruled the federation since its founding in 1971, is expected to be buried on Wednesday, according to Muslim tradition.