Creating an Islamic will
An Islamic will is known as wasiyya, and comes into operation after the death of the testator. An Islamic will differs from a will made under English law as a person must act justly when making gifts under Islamic law. Call us if you are wondering how to ensure your will is compatible with UK law.
What is the Islamic law on wills?
The Islamic will is a document which functions in a very similar manner to a ‘western’ will. Muslim individuals must (according to legal Islamic scholars) ensure that in case they die their affairs are in order. Specifically, the deceased should ensure that:
- The funeral costs are covered
- Any debts are repaid
- The will is executed
- The remaining funds are distributed equally in accordance with Islamic law
Islamic wills allow for certain relatives to be given a share determined by Islamic law. If you have a wife or children then they will automatically receive a pre-determined share of your estate - it is not possible to leave more than the pre-determined share to anyone already provided for by Islamic law.
Islamic wills may make gifts to people not already allotted a share of the wealth, such as a charity, but only up to one-third of the entire estate.
Islamic laws relating to inheritance apply only following death, so if a person distributes their wealth before death then they do not necessarily need to do it accordance with the laws that apply to Sharia wills.
How to make a valid will
An Islamic will itself does not require specific wording and can be oral as long as the intention of the person making the will is made clear. It is worth noting that if an Islamic will does not comply with the requirements of the Will Act 1837, then:
- It will not be valid under English law
- Property will instead pass under the rules of intestacy
Every adult Muslim with the ability to reason has legal capacity to make a will under Sharia law; an adult being a person who has reached puberty or is over the age of fifteen. This is not the case under English law however; The Wills Act 1837 requires that the testator is at least eighteen years old. This means that if a person makes a will under the age of eighteen it will not be valid and property will pass under the usual rules if a child dies.
In order to ensure that your will is properly drawn up in accordance with Islamic laws, you should use a solicitor expert in the preparation of Sharia wills. You must ensure that the solicitor you use is also conversant with the laws of the country in which they are practising.
For more general information on other issues affected by Islamic law, see our page on using an Islamic solicitor.
Are you looking to write a will under Sharia law? Do you have a dispute with the execution of a loved one’s estate under Islamic law? Contact Law works with specialist Sharia law solicitors who can ensure your will is also valid under English law. Please call us on 0808 129 5760 or complete the web-form above.
- Last Updated on 29/10/2013