As salaamu Alaikum,
A brother told me with regards to inheritance, the prescribed way is effected when a person has passed away. However, whilst a person is alive, there may be a different ruling as to how they may wish to share their wealth to their family members.
If this is so can you please give some guidance?
Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
The laws of inheritance as given in the Holy Quran take effect after one passes away. However, as long as a person is alive, he has the choice to divide his wealth/property in a just and fair manner to his family members. This sort of division of one’s property falls under the name of ‘gifts’, and it will be considered as if he has given gifts to his family members like the spouse and children. This distribution and ‘gifting’ will not be subjected to the laws of inheritance, and will not be based on the amount that one must be given as stipulated under the laws of inheritance.
Gifts which are given are based upon a person’s choice and it is up to that person to give what he wants to different members of his family. However, in giving gifts to one’s children, one must try his best to be fair, just and equal among all the children, whether these are between boys alone or between boys and girls. While giving gifts during one’s lifetime, it is essential for those to whom it is given, to become owners and possessors of such gifts. It is not sufficient for one to say to another ‘I have given you such and such as a gift’ without actually handing over the item to the person. Therefore, ownership of the item gifted is essential for the validity of a gift.
Another important point to note is that one should not give gifts to family members during one’s lifetime with the intention of depriving other family members of inheritance after one’s death.
(Kitabul Fatawa Vol. 6 pages. 311,315,318 Zam Zam Publishers Karachi 2008).
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan