Q: I would be grateful if you would kindly assist me with an inheritance matter. We have sold my late mother’s house and need clarification on some issues before we are able to effect distribution. One of my brothers carried out renovation work to the property without the permission/and against the wishes of the other siblings. He genuinely believed it would increase the value of the property. He is now claiming costs in excess of £18,000. Although he has some receipts from builder’s and merchants, he is unable to substantiate claims for labour costs as they were made in cash with nothing obtained in writing. Some of the siblings are unhappy as they feel the cost is excessive and the unauthorised work has not added much value to the property. They are requesting receipts that simply don’t exist. Also they feel that, as it is a estate matter it is their duty to ensure all figures are correct and there is no human error. Legally an executor cannot make unauthorised payments or payments without supporting documents from estate funds unless all heirs collectively agree. What is the Sharia way of dealing with this? Also if some of the heirs agree to cover their share of the renovation costs then how should this be calculated. Should it be equally split or should the male heirs pay two parts and the female heirs one part. Your early response will be greatly appreciated.
A: If the renovations were conducted without the consent of the rest of the owners then the owners are not responsible. If he is able to take out what he put in and replace it then this is an option.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)