How is Ahmed Shaikh the expert in this?
Ahmed Shaikh is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
He is the former chair of the Orange County Bar Association Trusts and Estates Section. Ahmed is also the co-author of “Estate Planning for the Muslim Client,” published by the American Bar Association. He has also spoken and written extensively on Islamic Estate Planning throughout the United States while helping hundreds of Muslim families plan their estates, in both sophisticated and straightforward tax and asset protection matters, since 2006.
How much does it cost?
Fees in estate planning vary widely. However, estate planning with Ahmed Shaikh costs a minimum of $2,500 for single individuals and $3,000 for married couples (planning individually or together). The actual cost depends on the design of the plan, which the client decides at the meeting.
Why does this cost more than (name of something less expensive)?
Documents are papers with things written on them. By themselves, they have no intrinsic value to you or anyone else. What makes it valuable (or not) is the process used to develop them. That comes from counseling, design of the plan, and providing beneficial solutions. Islamic Estate Planning is fard for Muslims. However, it does no good to plan unless you have the peace of mind in knowing you are doing the right thing for your loved ones. If you find any other solution that gives you peace of mind and costs less, you are free to go there.
What is the process for creating an estate plan (living trust, etc.)?
We set an appointment, which you can do by clicking here. We send some preliminary information, and you will fill out a worksheet before you come in. You can fill out the organizer here. Budget about 90 minutes for the meeting, which may be in person or remote, using the phone or webcam. If you are in Southern California, my preference is that we meet in person in Orange County. At the end of the meeting, we will calendar the next meeting for signature.
After the meeting, we will send a confirmation letter describing your plan in summary form. You will confirm or make corrections. Once you have approval, we will be ready to sign. After signature, which includes witnessing and notary, we will create a digital copy of all documents, record any deeds and take other agreed-upon actions.
Do you do a living trust or a will?
An Estate Plan involves many different documents and is not just limited to a living trust or will. We draft both wills, trusts, and other agreements.
How do I prepare for the appointment?
You should fill out the worksheet to that we can adequately prepare for the appointment. In some cases, we may ask for additional information. However, most of the time, the information we need is right there on the worksheet. If you own real property, we would like a copy of either the “grant deed” or “quitclaim deed.” If you do not have it, we can likely obtain it as those are public records.
What happens if I want to do something that goes against Islam?
It is relatively common when someone wants to do an Islamic Estate Plan but will want to incorporate an element that goes against the Islamic Rules of Inheritance: for example, disinherit a Muslim child. We work from the premise that it is prohibited to help someone do something prohibited (like helping someone steal). So if someone asks us to help them do something that goes against the personal beliefs of the Attorney, the Attorney has the right to pass on the matter.
Does your practice only take Muslim clients?
Not at all. We have non-Muslim clients and don’t plan for them based on Islamic Rules at all. These rules do not bind them. That is more like a traditional estate planning practice that does not incorporate Islamic Rules.
Do I need to bring my spouse (or include him/her in the discussion)?
Every person is an individual economic unit. If you are married, you and your spouse both have their own “stuff” and often a somewhat separate set of heirs. However, spouses usually plan as a unit and own property together. We generally require that spouses be in appointments together unless you communicate the reason for not doing so in advance and Ahmed Shaikh has approved this reason. The reason may be that there is a difference in interests between the two parties, or there is a need to maintain confidentiality. We reserve the right to cancel appointments where only one spouse plans without the other unless there is an acceptable reason.
Can I bring my children with me?
There are two answers to this question. For minor children, please arrange for childcare, even if you are calling in or doing a video call. Otherwise, you will be distracted and won’t benefit from the meeting.
For adult children, there is no rule prohibiting them from joining the meeting. Keep in mind though that there may be things you don’t want them to know. The presence of non-clients will also matter to establish Attorney-Client privilege. However, many parents still want their adult children to participate, and that is generally a good thing.
Once we complete the plan, is it good forever?
Life is constantly changing. The law also changes, as well as best practices that we develop over time (just like we expect to have new additions to our book). We recommend coming back for a review every three years. Of course, changes can happen more slowly for some people, and more quickly for others. Estate Planning, like life, is an ongoing concern.
Where can I get more information?
We have a wealth of information about Islamic Inheritance and the Estate Planning process on this website. You can also schedule an appointment and get all of your questions answered during the planning process. You can schedule an appointment online using our online calendar.