Al-Wasiyyah: Will Writing & Estate Planning Service
Writing a will can help a person achieve peace of mind with the knowledge that their financial affairs and the distribution of their estate would be carried out according to their wishes. By definition, a will is a legal document that is used, following the death of a person, to apply for a grant of probate from the probate registry. This document provides the executor with the legal right to deal with a deceased person’s estate, which includes their property, money and possessions.
This will enables a testator to appoint an executor, the listing of debts, listing of estate, listing of beneficiaries, distribution appoint guardians for minor children and to create trusts for the maintenance of their family.
The Importance of a Will
A valid will written in England empowers the appointed executor(s) to carry out their role and put into place the wishes of the testator.
In the event of death without a valid English will (intestate) the distribution of the estate of the deceased will be determined by the rules of intestacy. This provides strict rules for how the estate has to be distributed to his or her family members. These rules however do not follow the estate distribution provided by faraid – which are . In other words, should a person die intestate or their will was not accepted for probate, then the rules of intestacy will apply and he or she would not have adhered to the shariah for their end-of-life preparations.
For this reason, as Muslims living in a non-muslim country, it becomes necessary to have a valid will; so that we may distribute our estate upon our death as we have been instructed by our beloved Prophet ﷺ, may peace and blessings be upon him. We are fortunate, because living in England, through writing a will it is possible to meet the requirements of our religion and the law of the land.
Another reason why it is important to have a valid will, is because it is a key element of estate planning; potentially helping to reduce the amount of payable tax on a deceased person’s estate. This is especially important for property owners because of the 40% inheritance tax (IHT) payable to HMRC on estates above £325,000. Probate cannot be registered before tax is paid, potentially leaving the estate of the deceased in legal limbo.
A key legal consideration for parents is the guardianship of minors. Under English law should both parents be deceased, the children would be taken into social security care. This may have a profound impact upon the social and religious welfare of the minors. Writing a will could help to alleviate the distress caused should this particular situation arise by appointing guardians who are willing and with whom the children have a good rapport. The testator can take steps to ensure that the guardianship is arranged so that the emotional, social and religious welfare of the children could be maintained.
Our will writing service is open to everyone who is interested in putting their minds to rest as regards the distribution of their estate in preparation for their death. The process of preparing a legal document that can be accepted by the probate registry indicates our love and care towards our beneficiaries.
Ibn ‘Umar (RA) reported God’s Messenger ﷺ as saying:
‘It is the duty of a Muslim man who has something which is to be given as a bequest not to have it for two nights without having his will written regarding it.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Summary of Services
An hour-long initial discussion in order to understand the needs and requirements of the testator. This meeting is provided as a service to the community and as such would not incur a fee.
Following this meeting if the testator would like to instruct us for the purposes of preparing a will, we will note down the necessary details for preparing a draft will.
Once a final draft is agreed a paper copy will be prepared. The fee for this service is £250 for a basic will without trusts. We can also offer probate and will storage services.
Can I write a will myself?
Yes. An English will requires a testator, beneficiaries, and two witnesses. A will written for another country however may have to be a more precise document because of the variety of legal traditions (civil law, common law, Shariah and customary law) which have legal standing and the different land laws which may impact on property ownership.
When should I write a will?
A will should be understood primarily as a means to appoint an executor. He or she will have the power to act on our behalf once we have passed away. As Muslims, we should also consider that closely related to this is the requirement to ensure that our worldly and spiritual debts are paid. In other words, we should not assume that a will is only necessary once we have substantial wealth; but that it is required to ensure that our debts are settled even if we are unable to pay ourselves.
Why should you use us?
We are both professional and friendly, and we have extensive knowledge and experience of estate planning and will writing for properties in England and abroad.
Do I need to have two separate wills in England, one that is Islamic and one which is English?
No. We are able to prepare a single document in England that will be a valid will and meet the requirements of the shariah.
5. If our religion has the faraid rules why do I still need a valid will to follow it?
This is because in England the rules of intestacy would automatically apply in the event of death without a valid will. These rules provide a strict distribution of the estate of a deceased person and it does not follow the faraid rules. In England, the only way to follow the shariah for our end-of-life preparations is to have a will. Depending on our circumstances, it may include other benefits, such as providing an opportunity to reduce inheritance tax liabilities and the appointment of guardians for dependants below the age of eighteen.
About the Al-Wasiyyah Team
Hartini Zubir is able to provide estate planning advice and will writing services for properties in Malaysia and England. Hartini is a member of the Society of Will Writers, As-Salihin Trustee Berhad in Malaysia and Rockwill Malaysia. She holds a Bsc (Hons) Information Technology from University Technology MARA (UiTM).