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Distributing Property in Lifetime

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askmufti.co.za
Q: I want to distribute my property between my husband, father, 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Is this permissible?
A: It is permissible to give away your property and belongings in your lifetime on condition that the motive behind this is not to deprive other heirs from their share of inheritance when one dies. You have not made mention of any children. If you do have children, then you shall have to first allocate to each of them equal shares from your property before giving others, or else they may be deprived of inheritance.
If you have no children then you can go ahead distributing your property to the people you mentioned.
You may distribute your property equally or you can give one more than the other. This is totally permissible.
We advise that whatever you give away in your lifetime should be put into writing. Draw up gift deeds wherein you will state the details of the property gifted, such as size, location, date of gift, etc. This document will also contain the signatures of those receiving the gift. It is preferable to have two witness to sign each document.
Another important condition for the validity of a gift is that the receipient or giftee must take possession of it. You will not be able to give away something but still retain ownership, use and possession of it till death. If the recipient does not take the gift into his or her possession, the gift will not be valid. That means that when you die the property that you had given away is actually still yours and will form part of your estate and will be inherited by all heirs in proportion to the shares allocated to them by Shariah.
Moulana Nazeem Moosagie
Checked and Approved by: Mufti Siraj Desai

This answer was collected from AskMufti.co.za, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Siraj Desai of Darul-Uloom Abubakr, South Africa.

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