What is an estate plan?


A standard estate plan includes a Will, a healthcare directive/living will, and a durable power of attorney.

A will is not complicated or expensive. You do not need to be rich to have a will. Even if you have minimal assets, a will ensures your property is distributed according to your wishes, you select your burial wishes, appoint guardians for minor children, select the person you trust to manage your affairs after your death, and so much more.

A will does not cover all your assets. Any asset that you own with a pre-selected beneficiary – like insurance policies naming your spouse or your children as beneficiaries, or a retirement account naming your spouse as a beneficiary, or a property you own with another person with the right of survivorship – passes directly to your selected beneficiary outside of the will. The will covers all other assets that form your estate.

In your durable power of attorney (POA) you appoint an agent to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. The POA gives your agent the power to transact real estate, enter into financial transactions, and make other legal decisions as if he or she were you. This type of power of attorney terminates at your death and you are free to revoke this type of POA at any time prior to death.

A health care directive/ living will designates another individual (typically a spouse or family member) to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacity.

Of course, you should select someone you trust, who shares your views, and who would likely recommend a course of action you would agree with to act as your power of attorney and health care agent. They do not have to be the same person.

As with all appointments, a backup or alternate guardian, power of attorney and/or health care agent should be named as well. Absent these designations, a court will appoint a person to handle your affairs.

With a standard estate plan (a Will, a healthcare directive/living will, and a durable power of attorney) your financial and non-financial end of life affairs will be in order and according to your wishes and you protect your family.

What does taʿsīb mean?

Taʿsīb mean residuary heirs (taking by taʿsīb). The residuary heirs take the balance of the estate after the predetermined or prescribed shares. For example, if the survivors are a mother and one son: the mother’s prescribed share is 1/6, and the son takes the balance of the estate, which is 5/6, through taʿsīb.

There are three types of taʿsīb:

(1) Taʿsīb through self (ʿaṣaba bi nafsihi), which includes all male heirs except the husband and maternal brothers

(2) Taʿsīb as a derivative of another (ʿaṣaba bi ghayrihā), where sons, a son’s sons, full brothers, and paternal brothers all bring their sisters within the  taʿsīb category

(3) Taʿsīb with another person (ʿaṣaba bi maʿa ghayrihā), where full sisters and paternal sisters take through taʿsīb with daughters or son’s daughters

While this sounds complicated, it’s really quite simple. Let’s look at a few examples:

Where the survivors are a mother, one daughter, and a full brother, the mother’s prescribed share is 1/6 and the daughter’s prescribed share is 1/2. The full brother, a residuary heir, will then receive the balance remaining in the estate by taʿsīb, which is 1/3.

Where the survivors are a mother, a father, a wife, a son, and a daughter, the mother and father receive 1/6 each as a predetermined share, and the wife receives 1/8 as her predetermined share. The remaining balance is now determined (the first line below shows how the fractions have been given the same bottom number, or denominator, to show the math more clearly):

1/6 + 1/6 + 1/8 = 4/24 + 4/24 + 3/24

4/24 + 4/24 + 3/24 = 11/24

24/24 − 11/24 = 13/24

13/24 of the estate remains. Even though the daughter is a Qur’anic heir, when she has a brother, they both fall within the taʿsīb category. In this example, the son and daughter receive the 13/24 balance in the estate, with the son receiving twice the share the daughter receives (here, the son receives 13/36 of the estate and the daughter receives 13/72 of it):

13/24 ∕ 3 = 13/72

13/72 * 2 = 13/36

Again, when the predetermined share the Qur’anic heirs take is not 100% of the estate, the remainder must be distributed according to the remainder rules, either radd or taʿsīb.

Does taʿsīb apply to your estate? Use our INHERITANCE CALCULATOR to discover your Islamic heirs and their shares.

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