Q: My father passed away when I was ten, in 1981. My sister who is 6 years older than me, told me recently that she can’t remember my father ever talking about paying Zakaat. We were not well off but I’m sure that we had wealth exceeding the Nisaab. Can you please advise us on what we should do.
A: Even if Zakaat was compulsory on your father and he did not pay it, it will not be paid from the estate unless he instructed that it be done from the estate. (Raddul Muhtaar V29 P360).
A decision cannot be made on a doubt. Your sister not remembering him speaking about paying Zakaat is not proof that he never paid Zakaat. It is also possible that Zakaat was not Fardh on him. Give the deceased the benefit of the doubt in this matter and do not delve into it. As mentioned above, even if Zakaat was compulsory upon him but he did not instruct that it be paid from the estate, then it will not be paid by the heirs.
Allah Ta’aala knows best.