Q. If there are debts in an estate, can family members use their own Zakaat money to pay off the debts in the estate?
A. The debts of the deceased must be paid out from the deceased’s estate even if debt encompasses the entire estate. If the entire estate is used in paying the debts of the deceased and there still remains unpaid debts, Zakaat funds cannot be used to settled the debts of the deceased. The is because Zakaat funds cannot be used for the dead. Zakaat funds can only be used for Zakaat recipients who are alive.
If however, the family is willing to settle the debts of the deceased, they may do so by using Lillah funds.
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
This answer was collected from TheMufti.com, which is a fatwa portal managed by Mufti Ismaeel Bassa from South Africa.