Q. My uncle gave me his Zakaat to discharge. But before I discharged it, he passed away. Can I still discharge his Zakaat?
A. If the deceased made a bequest in his/her will stating that any outstanding Zakaat must be paid from his/her estate, then the executors/surviving heirs are duty bound to ensure that his/her outstanding Zakaat is discharged up to one third of the estate.
Hence, in the enquired situation, if the deceased had made a bequest as stated above, then you must discharge his/her outstanding Zakaat up to one third of the estate. (This should be done with the consultation of the executors/heirs to avoid any dispute).
On the other hand, if the deceased did not make a bequest for payment of outstanding Zakaat, then the money given to you (Wakeel) to discharge on behalf of the deceased (Muwakkil) will form part of the estate and distributed amongst the surviving heirs of the deceased.
In an event that the deceased did not make a bequest for payment outstanding Zakaat or he/she did make a bequest but it is over and above one third of the estate, then the executors/heirs are not obliged to discharge the outstanding Zakaat from the estate. However, the heirs should consider the outstanding Zakaat of the deceased as a form of goodwill and discharge it by themselves.
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa