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Inheritance

Question:

Is a person allowed to disinherit an heir? Does it have an effect if it was done?

A person has drawn up his Will and allocated assets to whoever he wishes, is this in order?

Do gifts given away in ones lifetime fall into the state of the deceased?

Please advise on transfer of ownership if assets are being given in ones lifetime.

Was salaam.

Answer:

Firstly, disinheriting or disowning an heir is not valid in Shari’ah. The share that is due to that heir from an estate, which excludes valid gifts given away during the deceased’s lifetime, does not fall away; rather he will still have a claim to it. Even if it has been allocated to others through the secular winding up of the estate, the persons who receive more than their rightful Shar’i share will not be able to use that surplus; rather it has to go to the rightful owner.

Secondly, a person’s heirs can only be ascertained for sure once he has passed away. There is no certainty as to who will pass away sooner and who later.

Thirdly, during a person’s lifetime he is at liberty to give any possession of his to any person he wishes to. Whatever is given away is actually a gift rather than inheritance. The rules of inheritance would only apply to those assets which are left behind in a person’s estate once he passes away.

If a person decides to give something away as a gift during his lifetime then the person receiving the gift should be given full possession and control of it immediately. If it is something which requires registration in a particular person’s name, e.g. immovable property, etc. then the transfer should also preferably be done.

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