What do the grandchildren inherit from their grandfather if their grandfather and father die before the estate is divided?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
When a grandfather dies, as long his sons are still alive, the grandchildren do not inherit anything from him. Only their father (his son) and their uncles and aunts would inherit. Once their own father then dies, his children (the grandchildren) would only inherit whatever the father had inherited from his father (the grandfather).
To illustrate, let us assume that Qasim Ahmad has three sons and one daughter. One of his sons, Khalid, has two sons and two daughters. Qasim dies leaving $20,000 and a house with a large orchard. His wife is still alive, and he leaves a number of grandchildren and a number of brothers and sisters (the great uncles and aunts of the grandchildren).
The inheritance is divided as follows:
Wife (the grandmother): 1/8
Khalid (Son #1, and the father of the grandchildren): 1/4
Son #2 (the uncle): 1/4
Son #3 (the uncle): 1/4
Daughter (aunt): 1/8
Brothers and sisters (great uncles and aunts): Nothing
The $20,000 would be divided based on the fractions above, the heirs would either value the house with the large orchard by themselves and come to an agreement, or it would have to be valued by a government official and divided based on its value.
Now Qasim’s son Khalid dies before the money and the house with the large orchard are divided. He himself also had $50,000 and his own house. Khalid dies leaving his mother, his wife, his two sons, two daughters, his two brothers, and his sister.
Now we add what Khalid would have inherited from his father Qasim to the wealth he dies owning. This will be divided by his own heirs. So, the quarter of Qasim’s inheritance (the 1/4 of $20,000, and 1/4 of Qasim’s house with the large orchard) plus Khalid’s $50,000 and his house are divided in the following way.
Mother (Qasim’s wife): 1/6
Wife (mother of grandchildren): 1/8
Son #1 (grandchild of Qasim): 17/72
Son #2 (grandchild of Qasim): 17/72
Daughter #1 (grandchild of Qasim): 17/144
Daughter #2 (grandchild of Qasim): 17/144
Brothers #1 (son of Qasim, uncle of grandchildren): 0
Brother #2 (son of Qasim, uncle of grandchildren): 0
Sister #1 (daughter of Qasim, aunt of grandchildren): 0
This is just an example. The actual fractions will vary based on the actual numbers of living relatives.
So in summary: the grandchildren still inherit from their grandfather, but only the portion of the grandfather’s wealth that the father originally would have inherited.
Please refer to a local mufti for the calculations of your actual case.
I pray this helps.
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.