Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Can I give my children an equal share of the property, regardless of whether they are sons or daughters, if they all agree?
My wife and I own an equal portion of our property. If my children agree, is it possible to delay sharing the property until the death of the second of us, rather than sharing it immediately after the first?
One of my children does not have children, and if he passes away, he would like to leave all of his assets, including any inheritance, to his wife; if she passes away, she would like to leave it to him. My concern is how his wife will divide the wealth if he dies before her, and how this will be handled if she dies before him.
I pray you are well.
Equal Division of One’s Estate
Yes, if your children agree the inheritance can be divided equally amongst them. You can stipulate this in a will if you wish. However, they must agree to it at the time of your passing.
If one of them decides that they want the actual share they are entitled to in the Shari‘a then they have that right. This is why it should be made clear to them; this distribution is contingent upon their agreement to it upon your death.
When you pass away your estate will automatically become their property, so, in essence, those with a greater share will be giving up part of their inheritance to the others. Make sure they are aware of this, and that there is no injustice after you.
Delaying the Distribution of an Estate
Yes this is perfectly permissible, and probable the simpler way of doing it. However, as with the previous scenario, it is dependent on everyone’s agreement. Please ensure they agree with this, otherwise, there would have to be two distributions of the estate. Also, seeing as you have not delineated who owns how much of what, it would be better to avoid the possibility of conflict.
The Inheritance of a Spouse
If your son passes away first and you and his mother are alive: his wife would get a quarter, your wife would get a sixth, and you would get the rest. If it is just his mother and his wife, the wife will get a quarter, the mother a sixth, and the rest would be divided amongst his siblings: the males getting double the share of the females.
He outlives you and his mother, and then passes away before his wife, she will get a quarter, and the rest will be divided as mentioned above amongst his siblings.
If his wife passes away first, he would get half of her estate. The distribution of the rest would depend on who was still alive from her family members at the time. [Zayla‘i, Tabyin al-Haqa’iq; Siraji, al-Sirajiyya]
Giving People Their Rights
Please explain the importance of this to your children. Any wrongdoing in this matter is a serious matter. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) described the state of someone who wrongfully takes the property of another through a better, but false, case.
He said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “You come to me with your disagreements, and clearly I’m human. It may be that some of you are better in arguing their case than others. So if I happen to judge for someone something of his brothers right, I am only apportioning for him a piece of the Hellfire. So let him not take anything of it.” [Tirmidhi]
These are the scary consequences. May Allah protect us.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital, and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.