Q. My wife passed away. I have three daughters from my wife, 4,5 and six years old. I am aware that if I pass away, my mother, 2 brothers and 2 sisters will be my legal heirs and they will inherit from the house that I only own. I would like to give my house to my three daughters equally during my lifetime so they will have a roof over their heads after I pass away. But I do not have sufficient money to transfer it onto their names. How do I go about giving the house to them?
A. The basic principles of gifting/donations entails a) an offer from the donor to the donee of the gift/donation b) an acceptance of the gift/donation by the donee c) the donor granting the donee full rights and responsibilities of the gift/donation. These are the general principles and conditions that apply to adults and minors in the case of gifting/donation.
However, in the case of a father gifting/donating to his minor children, the father may gift/donate to his minor children without giving them full rights and responsibilities of the gift/donation. This is simply because the father is a guardian of his minor children and his ownership on behalf of his minor children is sufficient.
Therefore, in the enquired situation, even though as a father, the gifting/donating of the house to your three daughters in equal proportion would be valid without giving them full rights and responsibilities or transferring the title deeds etc. onto their names during your lifetime, this gift/donation to your children should be fully documented, witnessed, signed and if possible transferred onto their names during your lifetime. This is to ensure that there is no confusion or dispute after your demise. (Shaami 5/694)
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.