Islamic Estate Planning is unfamiliar to most American Muslims. Understand that this FAQ only answers general questions. This is not a replacement for a lawyer. Contact us if you want to get in touch. For more comprehensive information, you should get our free report on mistakes people make in their living trust, and get on our email list.
Can I disinherit a child who does not speak to me (or is disobedient, does haram things, married a non-Muslim, etc.)?
You cannot disinherit a child who is Muslim. Inheritance is a right You simply do not have the power to take away.
But it’s my money so I can do whatever I want, right?
No. If you are Muslim, it is not your money. Everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Allah. Inheritance is ordained.
But there are situations where children do not inherit, right?
Yes. If children leave Islam or are never Muslim in the first place, they do not have a right to inheritance.
But what if I want my children to get inheritance even though they are not Muslim?
You have the ability, though not the obligation, to give up to one-third of your estate as a Wasiyyah. In general, children are not eligible for the Wasiyyah since they inherit by right. However, if they are not already inheriting my right, they can be beneficiaries of the Wasiyyah.
How do I know an heir I am not speaking to is a Muslim or not?
It is important to understand that cutting off family ties is prohibited in Islam. It may well be you were not the one to cut off family ties, or there is no choice. Without additional information, it is not appropriate to assume the relative is not Muslim. If you have a hostile relationship with the relative, never ask what the religion is. That is asking for problems. The relative is Muslim and inherits.
My heir is a fasiq (notoriously sinful), then inheritance can be denied, right?
It is irrelevant if the child is a good Muslim or a bad Muslim. Anyone the Quran ordains is an heir and is a Muslim is entitled to inheritance. Killing the person an heir is supposed to get an inheritance from will prevent inheritance. This is true in both the Sharia and state law. But other than that, inheritance is not to be distributed based on your judgment of your heir’s actions.
Am I obligated to maintain ties with abusive family members?
You should be careful. Ties do not mean a confidential relationship or one that subjects you to abuse. Don’t cavalierly deny inheritance, however. We may recommend consulting an Islamic Scholar about your situation. However, understand, inheritance is ordained.