Questions concerning inheritance.
1-Will outstanding zakaat, would not that be considered a debt and cant be taken as part of the estate?
2-An individual is considered a sibling if they shared a wet nurse. Do they also inherit?
3-Who is responsible for distributing the shares of the estate of the deceased?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
1- Debts are of two types: (a) owned to individuals, through loans, sale of items ect. (b) owed to Allah i.e. outstanding monetary obligations, like zakaat. Both types are binding upon the individual. However, only those debts owed to individuals will be deducted from the estate of the decease. As for the second type (religious monetary obligations), it would only be deducted from the estate if the deceased left a Will/Bequest, if not, it will not be deducted.
2- If the conditions for fosterage existed i.e. the child was less than 2 ½ years when he/she was suckled, then in that case, the woman who suckled the child will be regarded as the foster mother and the woman’s husband, the foster father and their children will be the child’s foster siblings. However, being a foster sibling /son/daughter, he/she would not be entitled to inheritance from his/her foster relations. Those entitled to inherit must be connected to the deceased through blood relations or marriage (husband or wife).
It is possible that the foster mother/father/sibling, prior to demise make a will/bequest to the foster sibling, son/daughter
3- If the Testator (deceased), prior to his demise appointed an executor to distribute his estate, then the executor will be responsible. If he did not appoint anyone then the heirs would be responsible.
A person, before he dies should make arrangements to ensure the proper distribution of his estate. This can be done by drafting a will instructing that his estate be distributed according to the laws of shariah. Also by appointing righteous competent individuals or competent Islamic institutions as the executor or to be consulted regarding the distribution of his estate.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Kaleem Muhammad
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)