Can you give away “inheritance” in advance? This comes up from time to time, even though the premise of it may seem strange. Inheritance is what happens after you cannot take it with you. You don’t know what you will have when you die since you don’t know when that will be. Let me suggest a hypothetical:
Abdul Rahman wants to start a business. He asks his father Sulaiyman for a gift of $300,000 to do it. This is approximately the value of the inheritance Abdul Rahman were to get if he died. He suggests just giving him the advance now and exclude him from the estate plan.
The right of Islamic inheritance comes into play once: when an individual passes away. Unfortunately, some people often make the mistake of distinguishing between gifts and inheritance. This results in conflicts within families. In many cases, parents will provide more financial assistance to one child over another child. When the time for distribution of inheritance comes, this financial assistance might actually become a sore spot and cause conflicts among siblings.
Parents try to address this by restating the financial assistance as an “advance on inheritance.” My advice is to never do that. There is no way of knowing if any inheritance at all is going to be distributed to anybody. Furthermore, it is not at all certain that the person receiving advance inheritance will survive the person who is giving that assistance. Simply put, the son may die before the father. As a practical matter, there is no such thing as an advance on inheritance
If parents actually want to ease the anticipated family problems that might occur if financial assistance is provided to one child who is in need then the way to handle it is by characterizing the assistance as a “debt.” Debt has its own challenges, as I discuss here.