It’s essential that you map out what you have so that your executors can collect your whole estate to distribute. If not, secret wealth will remain secret and will never pass on to your inheritors!
The easy way to think about assets and liabilities as what you own & what you owe.
Assets are anything of significant value, including: any properties, a business, bank accounts, stocks and shares, a car, jewellery, life insurance policies, and anything else of worth that can be passed on.
Liabilities can include official debts, such as: mortgages, overdrafts, and bank loans, and also include personal debts. As a Muslim, it is crucial you include a record of your private/unofficial debts in your will so that your loved ones can be made aware of them and can settle them for you.
There are certain assets that will not be handled by your executors (though it’s still worth listing them in your assets):
- Your pension – the pension provider will deliver this directly to your nominated beneficiary. Get in contact with them to nominate someone (this may also be able to be done online).
- A jointly-held house – When a house is held as joint tenants, the law sees the people as holding it together rather than in distinct shares. So when one of those joint tenants pass away, the surviving partner automatically now holds all of the property. Islamically, your share of the property should count within your estate so that its value can be distributed to your inheritors according to the shares set out.You can do this quite easily by changing to Tenants in Common (so that you both hold distinct shares that can be included in your estate). If not, we recommend having an informal agreement with your fellow joint tenant to agree that they will give your inheritors the value that their inheritance share in your part of the property.
This article is part of our Islamic Wills FAQ series.