Bequeathing one's wealth

Question:

What is the ruling regarding wasiyyah (bequeathing one’s wealth)?  What is the proper way of doing it?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم:

الجواب حامدا و مصليا و مسلما

Answer:

Wasiyya (making a bequest) means to specify a portion of one's wealth to be spent in a certain cause after one's death. Shari'a has permitted us to bequeath 1/3 of our wealth on behalf of whomever we wish, the rest of the wealth will be given to heirs designated by shari'a.

All sorts of unpaid financial liabilities should be included in the bequest whether they are due to people, such as debts, or due to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, such as zakah of previous years or fard hajj which has not been performed yet. It is necessary to specify the amount of wealth being bequeathed as well as the cause where the wealth should be spent.

If a person has any such financial obligations, he should bequeath an appropriate amount of wealth as well as make an effort to gradually fulfill his obligations within his lifetime. A bequest may be done verbally, although it is better for it to be documented and showed to trustworthy people. If any of these obligations are fulfilled later on in his life, they should be noted down so that the heirs know to subtract them from the bequeathed wealth after his death.

If he has no such obligations, it is mustahab to bequeath a portion of his wealth for a virtuous cause. However, if his heirs are needy, it is better not to.

والله اعلم

Allah Knows best.

Approved by: Mufti Husain Ahmad Madani