Fatawa Answer

Question: Re: Shariah Compliant Estate Planning

ID: 1776

Name: Dealings and Transactions

Question

Dear Shariah Board members,

It has been a goal of mine to offer legal services to the Muslim community in Chicago since I moved to Chicago in 2005 and took the Illinois Bar exam.

I respect the Muslim faith and the people who practice it. It would be an honor to help people with their Estate Plans to honor their religious beliefs in their documents and I have been learnign about how to do this, in part, from an article by Mr. Yaser Ali, Esq. an attorney in Tempe, AZ who published an article in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA.org) in the NAELA Spring Journal of 2022. This can be downloded on the NAELA News + Journal sction of www.NAELA.org website.

There is also an event scheduled at the Greater North Shore Estate and Financial Planning Council on Zoom devoted to a presentation of Estate Planning with Religious Implications in Estate Planning, by Ms. Stacey E. Singer, Esq. an attorney who has served the Muslim community in Chicago. This will be taking place at 8:00 am on Wednesday, March 22nd. https://gnsefpc.org/event-4896292

My question: It is clear that I will need to have gujidance from Muslim Scholars of Shariah Law in order to properly advise my clients on their Estate Plans. Is there a way that I can request my client's Estate Plans be properly reveiwed for Shariah compliance? Is it sometinng that can be scheduled for counsel with my clients? I want to honor my client's desire to fully comply with their Muslim faith and would like to serve the community respectfully.

Best regards,

Jeff Story

2144 Ashland Ave.

Unit 2

Evanston, IL 60201

(773) 387-1001

 

 

 

 

Answer

بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم

:الجواب وباللہ التوفیق

The division of inheritance is a very important and delicate issue, the details of which are many. If you want to learn this knowledge, it is better to take a formal class from a religious scholar. We can arrange tutoring for you if you desire so. Knowing only a few rules and regulations are insufficient to have a proper knowledge and understanding. However, listed below are a few basic points to keep in mind:

  1. Distribution of wealth during one’s life is a gift, not an inheritance. If a father wants to distribute his wealth during his lifetime, he has that option available to him. He can distribute it among his own children, or he can give it to other heirs besides his own children as well. 
  2. He has the authority to give as much of his wealth as he wants to whomever he wants. 
  3. If a parent wishes to divide the property among one’s own children during his or her lifetime, it is encouraged to ensure equality among the sons and daughters, in that their shares of property or wealth are equally distributed. However, if due to necessity, compulsion or for any other genuine reason a larger share is given to one of the children, then that is allowed as well. 
  4. Having the intention to decrease the amounts of shares due to fear of loss or harm is not correct.
  5. To entirely deprive a child of his or her fair share is an abuse, which is not allowed in the Shari'ah. 
  6. Children do not have the right to ask for their shares in property during the lifetime of their parent. Such a demand is due to their ignorance and an excess on their parts. Therefore, parents are not required to heed to their demands. 
  7. To avoid financial hardships in future, it is better to save some money for one's own needs and expenses before distributing the propert. 
  8. The “Will” does not apply to one’s own children or to those who will become legal heirs after his or her death, because Shari'ah has already determined their shares, and distribution of property or wealth will be carried out strictly according to those rules. Therefore, if someone has made a “Will” for his children or the heirs, it will not be enforced. But if the heirs decide to divide the property according to the “Will” of the deceased by mutual consent and without coercion or duress, that option is open for them, and this will be considered a mutual reconciliation. But if an heir insists on having his share according to Shari’ah rules, then he must be treated accordingly. 
  9. A bequest can be made for people other than his or her own children and heirs or for any good cause, but that “Will” is allowed to be done with up to one-third of the property or wealth. If someone has bequeathed more than one-third of the property, then his “Will” shall be limited for up to one-third of the property only and no more than that. But if all the heirs agree to distribute more than one-third of the property according to the “Will” through mutual consent, then they are allowed to do so. 
  10. There are many details of how much share an heir gets after death of a parent. . The specific situation should be written down in detail to get the ruling on it. 

The following books are available on the internet for further reference on rules of Inheritance.

1- قواعد میراث 

مفتی جمیل احمد تھاویؒ،

 

2- آسان میراث 

مولانا عثمان صاحب 

 

فقط واللہ اعلم باالصواب

Answered On: Friday, Aug 18, 2023 | N/A

Answered By: Mufti Mohammed Ataur Rahman Sajid

Checked By: Mufti Mohammed Navalur Rahman