Not having a Will can be a dangerous game. Because when you die, you won’t have a say in the distribution of your assets.
Your estate and personal effects could be disturbed according to Australian Law. Those you leave behind could potentially get nothing.
That can be scary in and of itself. But if you’re Muslim, that goes directly against your religion. And things can get complicated quickly. Luckily, you aren’t alone.
Read on to learn more about Islamic Wills and Shariah-compliant distribution and inheritance.
The first thing you need to know is that your Will has to be written correctly. If so, your Islamic Will will be valid throughout Australia.
But to be correct, your Will must be compliant to both Islamic Law and Australian Law.
The Qur’an dictates that it is required of every Muslim who has anything to bequest to have a Will, known as a Shariah Will. There are also specific instructions in the Mawarith schedule of the Qur’an. At least two-thirds of your estate will have to be compliant to that.
An Islamic lawyer can do this for you. They will also work with you to make decisions about the last one-third of your estate. Which you are free to do with as you like.
But it isn’t just your estate itself you have to consider.
By Islamic Law, all debts have to be paid off before any allocated distribution.
This also includes any outstanding charity known as zakat. This means, whether you have a Will or not, some of your things or part of your estate may be sold to meet these.
You will want to already have a plan to pay those. Especially if there are specific items you want going to specific people or places. Having that stated in your Will can make the process significantly easier.
You might also want to put any burial requests in your Will. But keep in mind, there is always a possibility of you being buried before the Will is even read.
So, if you have burial plans, be sure to inform a loved one so that can be checked beforehand.
Remember, for your will to be validated across Australia, it must be compliant with the Qur’an. If you cannot get an Islamic lawyer, there are other resources to help you.
Understanding Islamic Law of Inheritance, or the Al-Fara’id, is the next step for your Will.
On the surface, it seems very complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
There are four sources for this law: the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the Ijma, and the Qiyas.
What this means is you will draft your Will according to the specific instructions (the Qur’an). And according to specific social and legal customs (the Sunnah).
Afterwards, it will be agreed on by Islamic scholars (the Ijma). They will decide if it meets those requirements and is of a high standard (the Qiyas).
So, who exactly will be receiving your inheritance?
The Islamic Law of Inheritance only recognises two types of beneficiaries. The Sharers and the Residuary.
The Sharers can be anyone within your family, from your wife to even a uterine (or half) sibling. They are the beneficiaries who can receive a specific offer of what you leave behind. The Residuary beneficiaries can then receive the rest.
For the Residuary beneficiaries, you can have three kinds. Residuary by himself, residuary through another, or residuary along with another. Deciding who will be what is up to you and them.
After You’re Deceased
Just because you have that Will doesn’t mean there still won’t be a process after you die. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have enacted a few governing laws involving Muslims.
The most important to note is that all relatives of the deceased have rights. Named beneficiary or not. Most notably, they have the right to claim some of the estates of the deceased. This is because they can qualify as a beneficiary under Shariah Law.
If this happens, the claim will go to court. There the beneficiaries will be decided or reconfirmed.
The same two male witnesses who witnessed your Will will be there to present evidence. It is unlikely they would rule against your Will, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Also, according to Shariah Law, not just anyone can become your heir.
Your child cannot be considered illegitimate in any way to become your heir. And this includes adopted children. An ex-wife, likewise, cannot become your heir unless she is undergoing iddat.
And of course, if the beneficiary directly caused your demise, they are ineligible. So, if they murdered you, they cannot be your heir.
Distribution of Your Assets and Estates
Once your Will is reconfirmed, and your debts and funeral paid off, then your assets can be disturbed.
In Shariah Law, there are some conditions to this as well. This is the two-thirds of your inheritance instructed by the Qur’an.
The husband (if there are no descendants), the daughter, and the daughter of the son can be given on half of your assets.
But your sister can only receive half if she has no other siblings. She also can’t have a father or grandfather, and you left no other successor.
One-eighth to one-fourth of your estate will be given to your spouse. Two-thirds of your estate can be given to your children or siblings too. But only under the following conditions.
Your daughter will receive it if you have no son. The daughter of your son can receive it if he has no other successors.
A germane sister can receive it if there is no germane brother. Also if there are no successors of the germane brother, or if she doesn’t have a father or grandfather.
Likewise, a consanguine sister may receive it, but only if there is no consanguine brother. Also, as long as there isn’t a germane brother or sister. There can’t be other successors of theirs, too, and no father or grandfather.
One-third of the estate can be given to your mother if you have no other successor. Or to your mother’s children, if there is no other successor. Or, next, the paternal grandfather, if he concurs the estates in the absence of other heirs.
Finally, one-sixth of your estate can be given to your father. He would also concur with other descendants.
Your paternal grandfather or mother, if you have other successors, would be next. Then your grandmother, if she isn’t eligible for another inheritance.
Again, it looks more complicated than it can be. If you follow the instructions from the Mawarith schedule, you should be fine.
Also, if you have someone in the Islamic community to help you, you can get assurances that your Will is correct.
Not a Muslim?
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Law of Inheritance doesn’t have to apply to only Muslims.
It absolutely applies to Muslims, yes. But non-Muslim foreign nationals can choose to follow Shariah law as well. It’s a broad law that is open to interpretation in some cases and different applications.
The important thing to remember if you’re a foreign national is that the laws of your home country may apply.
If this happens, it would be because one of your heirs requested it in court. This is a privilege of the heir within Civil and Personal Law of the UAE.
To do that, they will have to submit three things. A duly legalised death certificate, proof of the last domicile, and the authorised Will.
If you do not have a Will, the Court and your beneficiary where you fall. Either under Shariah law or your home country’s deceased laws.
So, if you think it is likely you’ll die in the UAE, it would be best to have a Will to clarify.
Chances are, if you no longer have any assets in your home country, you’ll fall under Shariah law. But it is better to be safe than sorry.
You can check the laws of the deceased from your home country and what would happen in the event of your death.
Shariah-Compliant Islamic Wills, Inheritance, and You
It’s absolutely possible to have Shariah-compliant distribution and inheritance of your assets. Muslim or not, Islamic wills and inheritance laws might still be right for you.
But if you are Muslim, it is a necessity to have a Will compliant to both Shariah and Australian Law. But you can do it! Go now and draft your Will!
And make the switch to Australias first and only Shariah compliant Islamic super Crescent Wealth Super.
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