In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful
A quick & easy guide to prepare your Will
Live a long life, work hard and be organized about your future
Disclaimer: The following does not constitute legal advice. It contains general information and is not intended to apply to any specific situation. If you need legal advice or have questions about the application of the law in a particular matter, you should consult a lawyer
What is a Will?
A document that people prepare to let others know about their intentions after they pass away is called a will or a last will and testament. A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets and property should be distributed after death. It can also include instructions for the care of minor children and the appointment of a guardian for them. It is important to have a will in place to ensure that your wishes are carried out and to minimize the risk of disputes among your loved ones after your death.
Learn about the importance of Inheritance and distribution of assets in Islam:
- Tafseer Surah Al-Nisa (verses 7-14)
- Study a book on Inheritance (Kitaabul – Meerath)
- View contemporary fatawa about inheritance on Islamic Fiqh sites, e.g. http://www.askimam.org/
- A believer and Will: In Islam, making a will is encouraged as a way to ensure that a person’s assets and property are distributed in accordance with their wishes after death. Islamic law includes specific guidelines for the making and execution of a will, including emphasizing that the will must be in writing and must be witnessed by at least two competent witnesses. The will must also be made freely, without any duress or undue influence, and must not violate Islamic law or the rights of any heirs.
Under Islamic law, certain family members, known as “heirs,” are entitled to a fixed share of a person’s estate after their death. The specifics of these shares depend on the relationship of the heirs to the deceased and a fatwa can be obtained from any Darul-Ifta or Mufti scholar. A will can be used to distribute a person’s assets and property in a way which does not contradict Islamic law or deprive any heirs of their legal rights.
- A hadith on importance of a Will: “Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr: the Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said, “It is the duty of a Muslim who has something to bequeath not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book 23, Number 4222)
• “Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As: The Prophet (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said: The best of provisions is a man’s provision for his family after his death.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 36, Number 4557)
These Ahadith emphasize the importance of planning for the future and taking care of one’s loved ones, even after death. These encourage Muslims to make a will and to ensure that their assets and property are distributed in a way that is fair and in accordance with their wishes.
Why care about things happening after death?
There are many items or issues that a person might regret in case of a sudden death without having prepared for it in advance. For example:
• Lack of a will or other estate planning documents: If a person dies without a will or other estate planning documents in place, his (or her) assets and property may be distributed in a way that is not in accordance with his (or her) wishes. This can lead to disputes among loved ones and can cause financial difficulties for those who are left behind.
• Lack of financial planning: If a person dies without having made financial arrangements for their loved ones, their family and dependents may face financial difficulties after their death. This can include things like lack of access to bank accounts, lack of funds to pay bills or debts, and lack of income to cover living expenses.
• Lack of arrangements for the care of dependents: If a person dies suddenly and has not made arrangements for dependent-care (such as minor children or elderly family members), their loved ones may be left without the necessary support and resources to care for them.
• Lack of funeral and burial arrangements: If a person dies suddenly and has not made funeral and burial arrangements in advance, their loved ones may be left with the burden of making these arrangements at a time when they are already grieving.
Overall, it is important for individuals to consider the potential impact of their death on their loved ones and to make arrangements in advance to help mitigate any difficulties that may arise. This can include things like making a will, creating financial plans, and making arrangements for the care of dependents.
- Uses of Wasiyaah (Will): It is common for people to include advice or personal messages to their survivors as part of their will. For example, a person might include a letter or statement in their will, offering guidance or advice to their loved ones on how to handle their assets or property, or offering words of encouragement or support.
Including personal messages or advice in a will can be a way for a person to continue to have a presence in the lives of their loved ones after their death and to offer guidance and support as they navigate the challenges of life.
Receiving letters or communication from close family members who have died can be a touching and emotional experience for the recipients. These communications, for which a will can be an excellent candidate, can serve as a way for the deceased person to continue to have a presence in the lives of their loved ones and to offer words of guidance, support, and encouragement.
In some cases, receiving communication from a deceased loved one can be particularly powerful and meaningful, as it can serve as a reminder of the enduring bond between the two people and the ongoing love and support of the deceased person. In other cases, the emotional impact of the communication may be lessened by the fact that the person is no longer present in physical form.
Overall, the emotional impact of receiving communication from a deceased loved one will depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of the relationship between the two people and the nature of the communication itself. Some people may find great comfort and strength in receiving communication from a deceased loved one, while others may find it more difficult to cope with the loss.
- Islamic Will Template: We have prepared a Will Template (worksheet) that can help document your nearest relatives, belongings, and obligations. Modify and extend the template according to your situation. Consult a Darul-Ifta in your country to review the completed paperwork (which lists a person’s legal heirs) and obtain a written fatwa of estate distribution of the deceased. Consult a lawyer for legal requirements.
- Steps to Make an Islamic Will: Follow these steps to make your Islamic Will and fulfill an important obligation in your life:
- Downloads Will Templates :
- Update the Template (worksheet)
Update the template as per your conditions/ situation and needs. Feel free to add more lines or remove lines where not needed.
- Share it with a trusted person
Share the file with a trusted person via a printed-copy, email or online shared drive such as OneDrive or Dropbox. Make sure it is not publicly readable and is shared with the specific person you are trusting for this matter.
- Define a schedule for Will Update
You should periodically update your will to reflect the latest status. We recommend this be done each month. You can set up a calendar reminder for this so that you don’t forget about it during your hectic work schedule.
- Backup and Recovery Considerations
Every six months, you can email a copy of the same to the trusted person so that in case the online version is lost or access is lost for any reason, at least one reasonable copy of your will is available in the email box of your trusted person.
Getting a Fatwa on Estate Distribution
It is better to get this fatwa from a scholar and register it with the local legal system. This is to protect one’s assets and to ensure proper distribution according to Shariah.
Step 1: Document all belongings, assets and debts and keep it safe (even though these records are not a part of a registered Will).
Step 2: After authorizing payments of all debts and expenses (including burial charges), you can specify how to distribute up to one third of the estate. For example:
• to poor relatives, relatives who are not getting any share from the rest of estate,
• sadaqa/ charity,
• Fidya for obligatory fasts not done, Zakah not paid, obligatory Salah not performed,
• to send someone for Hajj if one has not performed it etc.
For distributing the rest of estate (two third or more), prepare a list of relatives and get a fatwa from a scholar showing the distribution percentages based on the relatives.
Children | Spouse | Parents | Brothers | Sisters | Uncles and Aunts (maternal and paternal)
You may find software programs or spreadsheets to do this, however it is strongly recommended to contact a scholar to verify it. You may consult your masjid’s Imam or a Mufti in your region regarding your Will preparation. Getting a fatwa will help the surviving spouse or relatives distribute the estate according to Shariah.
Step 3: Register Step2 above with local legal system, along with other local requirements for a Will template.
Add a clause that allows updates when a new one is born in family, or when one of the close relatives dies.
Some states may not recognize the distribution of wealth according to Islamic Shariah. Learn the local laws of inheritance and check with a lawyer on how to prepare appropriate documents in order to make the Islamic Will acceptable in the local legal system.
Assign one or two persons as Will Executors. Since the family usually travels together, it is good practice to authorize someone else to execute the Will.
Our Digital Lives & Post-Death Considerations
As more and more of our lives become digital, the death of a “digital citizen” can create a number of challenges for their survivors. For example:
• Social media accounts: If a person dies and their social media accounts are not properly managed, their friends and loved ones may be unable to access important memories and connections shared on those platforms. Some social media companies offer options for “memorializing” an account after a person’s death, which allows the account to remain visible but prevents anyone from logging in or making further updates.
• Online financial accounts: If a person dies and their online financial accounts (such as bank accounts or cryptocurrency wallets) are not properly managed, their loved ones may be unable to access funds or assets stored in those accounts. It is important for individuals to make arrangements, for example, by naming a close relative as a joint account holder or beneficiary etc.
• Digital assets: A person’s digital assets (such as ebooks, awards/ certificates, or other types of digital media) may become inaccessible to their loved ones. It is important for individuals to consider what will happen to their digital assets after their death and to make arrangements for recovery, such as by naming a trusted person as the beneficiary of their digital assets.
• Recurring payments on online subscriptions, unless explicitly cancelled, may keep deducting your money even though no one is using those service after death!
Overall, consider the digital aspects of life and make arrangements to recover digital assets and accounts in the event of death. This will ensure the survivors and loved ones are able to access important memories and assets after the owner is gone. If you do not make plans for your digital assets and accounts, it can be difficult or impossible for your survivors to access those. This may create problems for your loved ones as they try to settle your affairs and can lead to disputes over control of your assets.
One way to address this issue is to create a digital estate plan that includes provisions for the management of your digital assets and accounts. This might include, for example, creating a list of all your digital assets and accounts, including login information and any relevant instructions, and designating a trusted person to manage them. You might also consider using tools such as a digital legacy or online will service to help manage your digital assets and accounts. Consider including provisions for the management of your digital assets and accounts in your traditional will or estate plan.
Preparing a will help safeguard assets, resolve disputes, increase future planning, arrange for dependent-care, and create awareness of life Hereafter. Take time to document, consult a scholar and lawyer in your community for will preparation.