My father passed away recently and his pension fund has paid a lump sum to me and my sister. We are both adopted and he has brothers and sisters. He has made a wasiyah to us of 1/3 and the remainding 2/3 are to be divided amongst his brothers and sisters. Does the pension lump sum form part of estate to be divided according to shariah, or is it solely for me and my sister? She has consulted ulama who said it is not part of estate and she is entitled to it. I am the executor of estate and I wish to do the right thing.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
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According to the Shariah Laws of Inheritance and Succession, the estate of the deceased will be distributed after burial expenses, paying off debts (if any), and having fulfilled permissible bequests (if any) from one-third of the total that remains after deducting burial expenses and debts.
There are two relevant issues in your query:
- All monies and valuables that are the possession of a person at the time of his death will form part of his/her estate, including monies that are being owed to him. As such, the pension amount that was paid out will form part of the estate. You and your sister are not directly entitled to it.
- In principle, it is only permissible for one to bequeath one third of his/her estate to individuals who are not his/her heirs. Since you and your sister were adopted, the bequest in your favour will be acceptable. However, the bequest of the remaining two thirds is incorrect. The remainder shall be distributed in accordance to the Islamic laws of inheritance and succession among the heirs of the deceased. Since we are unaware of which heirs the deceased left behind, we are unable to comment on the exact distribution of the remaining estate.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.