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ISLAMIC WILLS & TESTAMENT

 

What is the Islamic Will?

Islamic Will is a legal document that tells who gets what and who will look after estate distribution to fulfill your wishes after your death. An Islamic Will is a document that describes how you would like your assets distributed after death. The Islamic will is a legal agreement created by a sound mind Muslim (Testator or Grantor) that describes the main elements such as revocation, executors' duty, assets distribution methodology (i.e., complying with Islamic Inheritance law, legal laws), and signatory for witnesses, executors, and public notary. It also includes instructions for paying funeral or burial expenses, personal and business debts, obligatory religious debts (i.e., zakat, kaffarat, pending Hajj, prayer, and fasting), pending Mahr (i.e., marriage gift to wife), leaving money to charity, and making other arrangements. It may also include the declaration of testamentary bequest and the guardianship of minor children. Generally, Islamic Will or Muslim Will also refers to wasiyat, wasiyat nama, wasiat, wasiat nama, wasiyyah, wassiya, wassiyya, wassiyyah, sharia compliant will, shariah compliant will, saria compliant will etc,. However true meaning of all these is "Bequest or Testamentary Bequest" but not the "Last Will." The best practice of Islamic Will is to comply with legal in addition to Shariah and morals. All these minimum requirements must be met whether you are American Muslim, Australian, European, Canadian, or other.

Is making a Will Haram (i.e., forbidden) in Islam?

It is not Haram but obligatory to make a Will for Muslims as stipulated in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Your estates (tarikah) will not be distributed as per Islamic law if you choose not to create Islamic Will. Also, you cannot distribute assets without Will legally and are considered dying intestate. The government appoints an administrator based on jurisdictional law to determine who gets what. If you do not have a Will or Trust, your estates will not be distributed as per Muslim succession rules. Even though it is clear in the Islamic religion that Will is necessary, many Muslims either do not create Will or in create based on their culture and ignore religious duties (See Holy Quran, Chapter 4, Verse 13-14).

 

What is Shariah law?

Shariah means a way (to watering place) or a path (to correct guidance) similar to Jewish Halakhah (i.e., path) that not many know. The name of both laws is similar because of their Abrahamic origin. The majority part of Shariah forms Ibadan (i.e., devotionals or worship) and morals, while small (less than 5%) includes legal rulings, including birth, Inheritance, marriage, civil, criminal, etc., Many people consider Shariah to be strict and rigid without weighing the protections of family members it extends. The misconception about Shariah law regarding inheritance can be easily avoided if learning more about Islamic succession law and its beauty through a practical guide offered at Wassiyyah Academy through Islamic Inheritance Courses and free learning resources. This course is very intensive as it includes sources (Holy Quran, Sunnah, Ijma, and Qiyas), al-Faraidh (i.e., fixed or prescribed Quranic sharers), Al-Asabat (i.e., Residuary), Agnates, Secondary heirs, Classic or traditional Inheritance calculations using different scenarios (i.e., Radd, Awal), Dhawu al-Arham (i.e., Distant Kindred or through Kinship), and also you will get an in-depth understanding of Mawarith and computing shares in the light of Madhab (Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki, Hanbali) differences of opinions. The ultimate and exclusive course is available at an affordable price of US$10, with lifetime access and membership.

If I own nothing, still do I need Will?

Even if you don’t have much money or property, it’s still a good idea to have the will to name an executor and make it clear who you want to make decisions with after you die. You do not know how wealthy you are going to be before death! Your money in the bank (even though it is one dollar), your belongings, and your vehicle (even though it is a scooter or bike) are all your assets. Islamic perspective, your every dollar of credit or debt has to be settled in either inheritance or payment of expenses. The only way you can settle your balance is through your Will. Legal and Islamic laws are totally in line with this, and so, better to die with Will than no Will.

What are the main reasons for Sharia non-compliance today, even though someone dies leaving Islamic Will?

There are many reasons for Sharia non-compliance, but the main is seven.

  1. Islamic Will gets challenged in the court because inheritors are unhappy.

  2. All assets have been jointly owned or designated beneficiary or beneficiaries, bypassing the Will and Islamic inheritance.

  3. Islamic Will is created from a typical free Islamic Will template which needs to provide a clearer and interpretable snapshot of Islamic inheritance law.

  4. Islamic Will narrates the distribution of assets to one or more specific inheritors rather than following Islamic inheritance law. The result may be that parents, grandparents, children, or grandchildren would deprive of taking an inheritance, which is becoming a norm in most Muslim societies.

  5. Only a few people try to visualize the outcome and effectiveness of the practicality of their Islamic Will. They need to know the implications of Islamic Will regarding marital status, assets ownership, and tax consequences. Only beneficiaries would know how your Islamic Will functions, which will reveal only during probate processing.

  6. Due to the mass migrations of people across the world, Children (i.e., Sons, Daughters, and their descendants) live in one Country, and other relatives (i.e., Parents, Grandparents, Siblings, etc.) live in another country which creates a challenge for Muslims legally to distribute assets across the border. This issue is increasing daily due to migrations in an upward trend.

  7. Islamic Will works for many but may not be suitable due to the tax consequences (i.e., Inheritance tax, estate tax, wealth tax, or investment tax), especially if you have substantial assets or business nationally or internationally.

 

How do Islamic Wills work?

The Islamic will allow a testator to draft an agreement during a lifetime to distribute their estates after death in compliance with sharia and legal laws. Islamic Will can include two-thirds or more of total assets to be distributed to Islamic heirs (warith), including Husband (Widower) or Wife (Widow), Children, Father, Mother, etc. The remaining one-third or less can be bequeathed to the needy, poor, or charity. However, Endowment is different than Testamentary Bequest. The endowment is a gift in a lifetime to an organization or educational institute.

How Wassiyyah's Islamic Will is different from the online Islamic Wills free template?

Wassiyyah's estate plans are validated through a highly qualified (Ph.D./Doctorate) Muftis and other professionals, including lawyers or attorneys. Wassiyyah's Islamic Wills and Inheritance knowledge comes from years of in-depth research and validation of prominent Muftis. Wassiyyah's team has studied and researched Islamic Wills law worldwide. That's why we are here to give you complete confidence in creating your Will. Free Islamic Wills templates are a non-reliable, non-credible orphan source for boosting SEO. Making these templates easily accessible makes so difficult for the inheritors of a deceased person who may have used these templates. Please read this "15 reasons why should you not finalize your estate plan using free templates?"

What are the laws of will in Islam? or can I create verbal Will in Islam?

You can communicate your wishes verbally or write a Will in front of two witnesses as per Islamic law. However, there is no validity of verbal Will legally, and that's why you should not rely on verbal Will. Most Muslim majority countries do not allow verbal Will due to legal implications.

Can I write my own Will in Islam?

Yes, you should write or create your own Will. Then, you need to be converted into a legally binding document by witnessing (with a minimum of two witnesses) and consider notarizing with the public notary. Wording and clauses of Will are critical. One or more mistakes or incorrect wording can make your Will a nightmare for inheritors during the probating process.

When should a Muslim create Will?

You should create Will as soon as you reach adulthood as per your country or jurisdictional law. Do not delay making Will before you lose mental capacity or any unfortunate life events that deteriorate your health.

What is the difference between English and Islamic law regarding testamentary freedom? Why should I create Islamic Will?

Under Islamic law, testamentary freedom is restricted to one-third. Also, one-third of testamentary freedom in Islam is further limited to the poor, needy, charities, etc. On the other hand, under English or American law, individuals have the total testamentary freedom to give to whomever they wish. 

 

What is the difference between Islamic Wills created by a Muslim and a non-Muslim?

Muslims create a Will to comply with shariah, the Islamic inheritance law, and legal laws. Non-Muslims, on the other hand, create Wills to comply with legal laws in general, except Jewish create Wills to comply with Jewish inheritance law in addition to Legal laws. Christians create Wills based on legal laws in general. Hindus who live in India create Wills to comply with Hindu Inheritance law.

What is the difference between Islamic Will and Secular Will?

Islamic and Secular Will (or Conventional Will) are similar regarding executors' duty, appointing guardianship for children, paying off debts, and allocating money as charitable donations (i.e., Testamentary bequest). However, Islamic Will differs mainly in the estate distribution scheme, which includes the spouse, Children or Grandchildren, and Parents or Grandparents as primary legal heirs. Secular Wills have a Spouse and Children as Primary heirs in most cases. There is no specific limit to Testamentary bequest under Secular Will, while It must not exceed one-third of total assets under Islamic Will. Under Islamic Wills, the inheritance shares are fixed (i.e., Faraid), but eligible actual inheritance shares can only be determined only after the death of the Testator. On the other hand, Secular Wills mentions fixed shares, which stay the same after the death of the Testator. Creating Muslim Will is simple to compare to Secular Will because the inheritance follows Islamic law, and less effort will require on Attorney's end compared to Secular Will.

 

What happens when a person dies without Will?

Die without Islamic Wills is the most unfortunate situation a Muslim may face. Die without Will is generally dying "intestate" (or domestic law), meaning legal laws apply concerning the distribution of estates because the deceased did not leave a Will. The court will appoint an executor or trustee because of the absence of Wills. The court may find a relative of the deceased or someone else to look after the executor's duty or in some cases appoint Corporate Trustee. Court strongly prefers that the deceased must have a Will because it adds extra work for the court that was not intended. All of this means delays and expenses on the deceased end. Also, depending on the country's location, it may incur non-necessary administration expenses, wealth taxes, inheritance taxes, and estate taxes. Most importantly, it will not follow Muslim succession law, and you will be non-compliant Islamically. If you want to distribute assets as per your wishes, values, and faith, you should create Will. If you do not have Will, the court will decide who gets what, guardianship for children, and estate distribution. Not having a Will means it will incur substantial expenses and deal with estate distributions.

How long does it take to create Islamic Will?

You can create sharia-compliant Muslim Wills on Wassiyyah in less than 5 minutes and are ready to sign in an hour, assuming you have all the required information per the instructions guide. With Wassiyyah, you do not worry about legal and Sharia compliance.

How intestacy law differs in the USA, Canada, and UK?

In the USA, Canada, and Australia, intestacy laws are complex and vary from one jurisdiction (i.e., state, province, or territory) to another. In the UK, most jurisdictions apply rules of intestate succession to determine next kin who becomes legal heirs to the estate. If a person dies with a Will, most jurisdictions strongly favor the decedent’s intentions as expressed in the Will, and When a person dies without leaving a Will, that person is considered to have died intestate. All countries have enacted statutes to deal with this situation. These statutes are called intestacy statutes, and the intestate decedent’s property is distributed according to the laws of descent outlined in these statutes. So, it will not follow Islamic inheritance law under the state of the interstate.

What are the types of Wills?

There are many types and kinds of Will that you may create. The most common are holographic or written Will. Wassiyyah offers Single jurisdictional or Single country Will, Multi-Jurisdictional or Multi countries Wills (i.e., Separate will for each jurisdiction), and the International Will. However, in general, many other kinds of Wills exist, such as holographic Wills, Written Wills, Expat Wills, Single Wills, Joint Wills, Mirror Wills, Testamentary Trust Wills, Formal Wills, Oral or Verbal Wills, or Nuncupative Wills, Deathbed Wills, etc. All of these types fall under Wassiyyah's classifications of Wills, except Wassiyyah does not support Oral or Verbal Wills. Wassiyyah is the first to classify Wills in an Islamic context to make it more specific.

What are Trust-based Wills?

You can create Testamentary Trust as part of your will, that Trust-based Will to look after minor children after death. Testamentary Trust and non-Testamentary Trust have three significant differences; First, Testamentary Trust is effective only after death. Second, it does not help minimize tax impact (inheritance, wealth, or estates); Third, they are always revocable.

Can I create Islamic Will online on Wassiyyah?

The answer is "Yes.", However, it is not the same as online form-filling, "do it yourself" Islamic estate planning service provider. Under Wassiyyah, Users do not need to fill in their information online. Wassiyyah strongly does not recommend keeping your information confidential, which you should know for many other reasons. We work with highly qualified Islamic scholars and Islamic estate planning experts to deliver quality sharia-compliant wills for you and your family without compromising legality.

Is there any estate taxes concept in Islam?

In Islam, there is no concept of "estate taxes" because Muslims believe that Allah (Subahanahu Wa ta'ala) has provided everything necessary for them to live comfortably. However, some Muslims leave money to charities as part of their Will. The necessity of having an Islamic Will can be found in the saying  (called Sunnah or Sunna in Arabic) of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). You can find many narrations here. 

Where do you store your Islamic Will?

You can keep your Will at your home or store it with your Solicitor. Alternatively, it can be secured in the Bank deposit box. When you are going away from your residence country for an extended time, you better keep it with you.

Can I make changes to my Islamic Will?

Yes, you can update your Will anytime until you are mentally capable. To update your Islamic Will by making an official alteration called a codicil. You must sign a codicil and get it witnessed in the same way as seeing a Will. For significant changes, you should make a new Islamic will and destroy your old Will.

Who can be my Executor? And How many executors are needed for making Wills?

The Executor (or Executrix) will be carried out lots of paperwork after death and so needs to be a person, preferably your family member, relative, or friend. Suppose there is no one to appoint as an executor; in that case, you may hire professionals such as solicitors or accountants, bank representatives, or in some countries, there is a Public Trustee who offers service to be the Executor of your Will. The professional services may charge fees, so it is good to ask them before appointing them as an Executor. It is unnecessary to appoint more than one Executor, although it is advisable to do so, for example, in case one dies. It is common to appoint two, but up to four executors can take on responsibility for administering the will after a death.

If you are confused or don't know where to start, please JOIN US​ to receive your free E-Book "Beginners guide to Islamic estate planning," specially designed for those who seriously want to make their estate plan completed in the easiest and quickest way.

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