Is there a Sharī‘a-permissible way to leave more property to an Islamic heir?

It depends on timing and niyaa.

Under the Sharī‘a, you may transfer assets to anyone during your lifetime—as long as the transfer was not done to circumvent the Islamic inheritance rules. For example, it is Sharī‘a-compliant to transfer an asset to a child in your lifetime if this child has devoted substantial time and effort to caring for you without compensation. Another example is a child that needs assistance with financial issues. You may help that child by giving them a gift in your lifetime.

If you want to leave the gift as a bequest upon your death, then all Islamic heirs that inherit under the Sharī‘a must consent to the alteration of the predetermined distribution. If they consent, then the bequest is permitted.

There are two schools of thought on this. The first opinion—the majority opinion—holds that consent of the Islamic heirs must take place after the death of the decedent. The second opinion is that such consent can take place during the life of the decedent—but must be reconfirmed after the death of the decedent.

If some – but not all – of the Islamic heir beneficiaries consent to reduce their share to a fellow Islamic heir, the receiver of the bequest can inherit the extra bequest minus the portion from the non-consenting Islamic heirs. This is, of course, on top of their Qur’anic share.

Would you like to leave a bequest to an Islamic heir, perhaps someone who has helped and cared for you during your lifetime or a child who needs financial assistance more than the others? Use our ISLAMIC WILL software to prepare your own customized Islamic estate plan that is legally valid for your state, which will allow you to make such a bequest.

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