If my wife passes away and I receive her share of the marital residence at the time of her death, does that violate Islamic law?

Strictly speaking, yes. The surviving spouse’s share is required to pass to his or her Islamic heirs according to Islamic law. Islamic law does not permit a right of survivorship ownership. Owning a property together with the right of survivorship means that the decedent’s interest in the property passes automatically to the survivor.

Be that as it may, depending on the circumstances of the family, it may be reasonable to consider the house the wife’s house because she had invested efforts, money, and/or time in maintaining it. It is only fair that she receive the house. The same is true if the husband’s wife passes away and he receives the marital residence.

If you want your share of the house to be part of your estate and shared between all Islamic heirs, you need to retain an attorney to change the deed of ownership to joint tenant without right of survivorship.

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