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Sharia Wills Solicitors
“It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequeath not to let two nights pass without writing a Will about it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Under the Sharia, a Muslim with wealth is under a duty to write a will and he/she should not let three days pass without executing a will. In order to fulfil your religious obligation, it is important for Muslims to execute a Sharia compliant will and not simply a secular will. The highly experienced team at JMW is here to help you with all matters relating to your Sharia will, providing the assistance you need to make sure everything is completed correctly.
To make a will in accordance with Sharia law (Islamic law), or to discuss any related matters with our team, simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or allow us to call you back by completing our online enquiry form.
At least two-thirds of a deceased Muslim's estate must be distributed amongst surviving relatives in fixed shares as prescribed by the Quran. Up to one-third of a Muslim's estate can be bequeathed to anyone in a will who is not entitled to a fixed share, such as a charity. Muslims may wish to leave a "Sadaqah Jariya" (which is a type of perpetual charitable giving in the cause of Allah) and Muslims believe that they can reap the rewards for this beyond the grave.
Under an Islamic will, Muslims can also:
- Appoint Executors (a friend, relative or lawyer) to handle their estate after they have died
- Appoint guardians of any minor children
- Make provisions for any minor children, i.e. to invest their inheritance for their maintenance, education or benefit. This can be invested in Sharia-compliant trusts
- Specify who they would like their ’up to one third bequests' to go to
- Specify any charities they may wish to benefit
- Specify any funeral wishes. Muslims must be buried and their bodies should not be subject to a post-mortem in accordance to the Sharia
It is important to ensure that not only does a Sharia compliant will adhere to the principles of Islam, but it is also tax efficient and compliant with the laws of England and Wales. Planning ahead is key to preserving your assets and mitigating tax and our team can help you by guiding you through the ever increasing amount of tax legislation and work out the best way forward for you and your family.
'Homemade wills or those not drafted by qualified professionals may fail to consider all the legal issues surrounding each particular circumstance and in the worst case scenario a poorly drafted will may not have any legal effect. Dying without a Sharia compliant will may render your estate difficult to administer, complicated and expensive.
There are many important things to remember with regard to the rules surrounding Sharia wills. These include:
- You can specify funeral wishes in your will that adhere to Sharia principles
- You can appoint Muslim Executors to deal with your affairs
- You can ring fence and protect the estate for vulnerable children (for instance, a child going through a divorce or bankruptcy) and still make your will Sharia compliant
- A strict Sharia compliant will is not necessarily Inheritance Tax efficient (and Inheritance Tax is charged at 40% on death). There are ways to draft Sharia compliant wills that also save Inheritance Tax
- If you are domiciled in India or Pakistan, you could take advantage of the double taxation treaty and be liable for less Inheritance Tax
- If you own a business, there may be extra Inheritance Tax savings to be had should your business qualify for Business Property Relief
JMW specialises in Sharia wills, and we have a large number of clients who are expats living in the Middle East. In UAE countries that have Sharia law (Islamic law), assets may be passed on to family members, with each male receiving double what each female gets. For Muslims, it is important to have a Sharia will in place to ensure both the wishes of the deceased and their religious beliefs are honoured.
If a person does not have a will, the rules of intestacy for the country where they are domiciled in will apply. Non-Muslims who live in a country which implements the Shariah and are UK domiciled will require a UK will.
If you die without a Sharia will in place, then your assets and estate will be distributed in accordance of the rules of intestacy. These include no provisions for Muslim beliefs and going through the process will increase the time and cost of dealing with an estate.
Sharia wills can also be used to set out specific requests for burial and ensure that any ceremony which takes place is run in accordance with Islamic rituals.
Our solicitors are highly experienced in all aspects of Sharia will writing and we even have a specialist Sharia compliant tax adviser in Tasnim Khalid. It can be fairly complex when it comes to the laws surrounding Inheritance Tax and preserving the family estate for future generations, so it is imperative you speak to the experts to make sure you always make the right decisions.