3 important factors your Islamic Will can addressPepperells
At Pepperells Solicitors, we understand that it is important that somebody of a Muslim faith should deal with the distribution of their estate according to the principles of inheritance set by Islamic law. If you were to pass away without a Will, your estate would pass under the intestacy rules (when somebody does not have a Will). How your estate passes depends on a number of factors such as the value of your estate and who your living relatives are.
The intestacy rules would not take into account the principles of inheritance set by Islamic law and so it is extremely important to have a Will which caters for this. Your will can address a number of factors, such as those outlined below.
Disposal of the body is of prime importance and it is paramount that burial is conducted in accordance with the full rites of the religion. In general, a post mortem is not permitted and from this it follows that a body must not be used for medical research or therapeutic purposes. Consequently, such a restricted direction can be included in a Will.
In practical terms it may be better for the client to give directions as to their burial and if relevant, the use of their body in their lifetime so that there is no doubt at the funeral that their wishes have been complied with.
As in English law, the choice of executor must be done with care but there are some particular rules. Essentially, that person must be a Muslim, but not necessarily of the same sect, although it is preferable that they are Shia. It is important that the executors observe the appropriate principles in administering the estate.
There are some complicated rules that apply to executors relating to:
- the renouncing of executorship
- their obligations
- circumstances of their removal or retirement
- their liabilities and obligations to the estate
Disposal of the estate
A Muslim testator, following the principles, will only have the free right to dispose of one-third of their estate and only then to those that can inherit. Those that cannot inherit are:
- a person who murders the deceased
- an illegitimate heir
- the ‘spouse’ of an invalid marriage
Those that can inherit the rest of the deceased’s estate are:
- the deceased’s wife who, if there are no children, will receive one-quarter, the remainder going to the other heirs
- in the event of children, their mother, who will receive one-eighth, the remainder going to the heirs
- in the case of a surviving husband but no children, the husband, who receives one half with the remaining half going to other heirs
- in the event of there being children or remoter issue, the husband will take one quarter and the other heirs the rest
How to make sure your Will incorporates Islamic Law
The most effective Will structure to include all the above provisions, and any additional ones you may wish to make, is a discretionary trust Will. This involves your entire estate being placed into a trust which is managed by your Trustees (who are often the same as your executors). You then nominate a number of potential beneficiaries, and it is up to your Trustees as to how much each beneficiary will receive and when.
We would then work with you to draft a letter of wishes outlining instructions to the Trustees, which could include the principles of inheritance set by Islamic law, along with any other wishes you may have, religious or otherwise. Please do not hesitate to contact the office on 01482 326511 if you wish to discuss this further, or make an appointment and discuss this is more detail.