Depriving ones heirs by gifting others during ones lifetime

Q. Slmz Mufti Saab, I would like confirmation regarding wills. Is it Farz to have my will done according to Islam? I am currently single and not married and as per Shariah, should I die before marrying, my siblings shall inherit in my estate. I am not 100% comfortable with this, as my brothers have not played any role in my life. The roles they played were minimal. For me to think that my estate will be distributed amongst them is a bitter pill to swallow. Is it a sin if I chose to distribute my estate among my nieces and nephews or to a Masjid or to an orphanage? JazakAllah,

A. To ensure that an Islamic distribution takes place after ones demise, it becomes incumbent (waajib) on a Muslim to sign an Islamic Will and make Shariah Compliant Estate Planning decisions as failure to do so, will potentially result in an un-Islamic distribution.

During one’s lifetime, one has the full option of gifting to whomsoever he/she wishes. A gift given during one’s lifetime will not form part of one’s estate and will belong to the person to whom it had been given. However, it is not permissible to do so in a manner and with the explicit intention and pretext of depriving ones heirs after ones demise. In such a case, whilst such a gift may be valid, one will be sinful.

Nevertheless, if you wish to gift or give in charity during your lifetime without an explicit intention or pretext of depriving any of your heirs, it will be permissible.

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa