I have two sons and two daughters. One of my daughters is taking care of us. I want to leave her a larger share than my other children to compensate her for helping us in our time of need. Can I do this without violating Sharī‘a?

Strictly speaking, you are not permitted to leave her more than her predetermined share.

However, there are a few options to compensate your daughter for the help she has given you. Because she provided—or continues to provide—you and your spouse with assistance, you may have a moral and religious debt to compensate or reward her for all her efforts.

You can do this in two ways: (1) You are free to gift her money and/or property during your lifetime. This is valid and sound under the Sharī‘a; or (2) You can pay this debt to your daughter as a moral/religious debt. This moral/religious debt is paid from the gross estate as a debt before distribution of the net estate to the Islamic heirs.

In other words, if you choose to pay your daughter a moral/religious debt, she will receive the payment of the debt, plus her Islamic fixed share. We do not believe this violates the Sharī‘a. Allah knows best.

Use our ISLAMIC WILL software to prepare your own customized Islamic estate plan that is legally valid for your state. This will permit you to compensate your child by acknowledging a moral/religious debt in your will.

 

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