7 Practical Reasons a Muslim needs an Islamic will

The circumstance of dying without a will is called intestacy. If someone dies intestate, the law will determine who will inherit – not Islamic law.

The court will administer your estate or a relative can apply to act as your administrator (executor)- this can take time and they will have to allocate according to legal allocations. This can lead to significant legal fees and also strain family relations if there is a dispute about who gets what.

Here are 7 other practical reasons for making a will:

  • In order to avoid extra legal costs and creating irreconcilable family rifts, wills should be made as legally clear and undisputable as possible. Creating an Islamic will reduces the risk of a relative objecting to the contents of the will because, rather than inheritance decisions being personal, they are guided by Islamic guidelines. Mainstream will-writer Farewill estimates that £9,700 is the average cost of dying without a will.
  • Confirm who you want to be the guardian for dependent children if you and your spouse were both to pass away. You wouldn’t want the courts to grant this right to someone you do not approve of.
  • Make provision for dependents who wouldn’t inherit automatically under English law. This is a religious duty as your spouse will not inherit if your marriage isn’t legally registered and dependents who are not blood relations (such as step-children or foster children) will not automatically inherit anything without a will.
  • Minimise the inheritance tax bill. Having worked hard for your wealth and paid taxes on it already, there is nothing wrong with organising your will to minimise the amount the State will take. The more that you can leave behind, the more good that it can achieve.
  • Decide who you think will best handle your estate and appoint them as your executors. This way, you can be sure that trustworthy and capable people are going to be distributing to your inheritors. This role is not for everyone as it can be stressful, especially given the circumstances.
  • Ensuring some charity is given from your wealth.
  • Organise your assets and debts. This is an important exercise as you will have to take stock of your affairs and may realise there is room for improvement currently in how you manage your wealth. It’s important that you set out the full picture of your wealth so that assets that no-one but you knows about don’t go unclaimed and debts do not go unsettled.

Along with the peace of mind of knowing that things will be carried out according to Islam and your wishes, you will also have practically prepared for your death. There is always a risk that we lose ourselves in the day to day rigmarole of living- maintaining a will helps us remember our ultimate destination.

This article is part of our Islamic Wills FAQ series.

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  • Me and my wife were married under the Islamic Shariah in Pakistan in 1979.. We have 4 sons and one daughter. I have a number of questions:
    1-We haven one semi-detached house in which we are living and an apartment which we have rented and the income from that is used for expenses. Both the properties and bank accounts are in mine and my wife’s joint names. If after one of us is passed away. Can the other still be living in the house and utilizing the income from the apartment until the other is also pass away and the assets are divided amongst our children. Can this be accommodated in the Islamic will and how?
    2- In addition to our 4 sons, We have one daughter who lives with her husband and children in Dubai (But born and bred in UK). According to Islamic Sharia she is entitled to 1/9 of our total assets. However we wish to transfer the apartment to her. Because if at some times in the future she decides to transfer to UK for the education of her children She will not have a house and she wont be able to afford to buy one. The current price of the apartment £70000 which is more than what she is entitled. What shall we do in such circumstances.

    Safdar Ali


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