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How to distribute an estate

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Nasihah (Advice):
 Sayyiduna Shaddaad bin Aus (Radiyallahu Anhu) reports that the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “The intelligent person is the one who keeps a check on himself and does actions that will benefit him after death; and the foolish person is the one who follows his desires and places false hope in Allah.” (Tirmizi, Hadith #: 2459)
Q. My mother passed away recently. How do we distribute her estate?
 
 (Query published as received)
 
A. Whatever belonged to your mother at the time of her demise will form part of her estate. Before the distribution of the estate amongst the respective heirs, the following expenses must be taken care of from the estate:
 
a) The payment of funeral and burial expenses.
b) Thereafter, the settling of debts.
c) Thereafter, the awarding of bequests (Wasiyyah) to non-heirs or towards payment as compensation for unperformed Salaah, unpaid Zakaat, unfulfilled fasts etc. if the deceased had made such bequests. The bequeathed amount cannot exceed one third of the estate unless all the heirs are adults and willingly consent to this.
 
After settling the above, the net estate will be distributed amongst the heirs according to the Islamic Law of Succession and Inheritance and the share ratio will be dependent on the list of heirs surviving the deceased.
 
 
And Allah Knows Best
 

Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed

Fatwa Department
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 

Council of Muslim Theologians

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