How does one distribute the father's wealth, who leaves behind only a wife, four sons and a daughter. His parents are deceased.
In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalāmu ῾alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi Wabarakātuh
From the outset, one should note that there are four rights or duties attached to the possessions of any person subsequent to his death. Firstly, all expenses and liabilities incurred by the deceased, during his lifetime or which occurred after his death will be paid off from the gross estate. These expenses are made up of the burial expenses, debts and bequests. Once these expenses are settled, then only will the remaining funds, if any, form part of the Nett Estate and be distributed to the heirs. The executor of the estate will ensure that this procedure is carried it out with utmost precaution, guarding against the misappropriation of funds in any way. One should be ever-conscious and fearful of Allah Ta’ala when dealing with such matters.
Nevertheless, the four duties are outlined briefly and will have to be executed in this particular sequence:
1) Burial Expenses – the deceased’s funeral expenses, will be the foremost expense of the estate.
N.B: Only the basic expenditure required to bury and shroud the deceased will be borne out from the estate. This is generally a minimal expense. The practice of feeding, accommodating guests, etc. will not be financed by the estate in any way!
2) Debts – whatever debts were incurred by the deceased will then be paid out to the due creditors. All legal cost incurred while sorting out this expense, will also be included in this expense and deducted from the gross estate.
3) Bequests (wasiyyat) – if the deceased has bequeathed (requested that a certain portion of his wealth be given in a certain avenue), this amount will be deducted from only one third of the entire estate.
N.B: it is not permissible to bequeath anything to any particular heir. However, if the deceased did bequeath any amount, the bequest will not be valid unless mutually approved by all other heirs. In this case, the one in whose favour the bequest was made, will receive, both his bequeathed share as well as his due inheritance.
4) Heirs – Finally, once the above three expenses are taken care of; the balance (the Nett Estate) will now be distributed to the heirs according to the Islamic Law of Succession and Inheritance.
Nonetheless, in this case, assuming that there are no expenses due on the deceased, the estate will be divided into 72 equal shares, and the distribution will be as follows:
1) The Wife will receive 9 shares
2) The Daughter will receive 7 shares
3) Each son will receive 14 shares
And Allāh Ta῾āla Knows Best
Ml. Zeyad Danka,
Student Dārul Iftā
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Dārul Iftā, Madrasah In῾āmiyyah
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