In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Qs and CASE STUDIES

This section looks as case studies both fictional and non-fictional.

CASE STUDY MR. LEBLANC

This case study centres around an eldest son, Ziggy (not his real name), who strips his elderly father, Mr LeBlanc (not his real name) who has signs of dementia, of all his assets behind the backs of his other siblings making use a lasting power of attorney to achieve his goals.

 

Background

Mr. LeBlanc has lived in the UK virtually all his adult life he is now very old, frail and shows signs of dementia. He worked all his life and managed to accumulate assets consisting of a number of shops, a large house worth about £500,000 as well as having a property in his original home country, Pakistan. Mr. LeBlanc has a wife, and besides his son, Ziggy has other sons and daughters. Mr. LeBlanc lives with his wife, his eldest son, Ziggy, and Ziggy’s family consisting of a wife and grown-up children.

 

The Case details

A few years ago Mr. LeBlanc’s son Ziggy got a financial lasting power of attorney (LPA) for his father whereby Ziggy was the sole attorney. Ziggy’s other siblings were unmindful of the fact that Ziggy was the attorney of his father’s LPA.

As Mr. LeBlanc was getting old his family felt that Mr. LeBlanc should do something about his assets in aborad which were in his name, namely a house and a plot of land. There were heated discussions amongst the family members regarding into which of Mr. LeBlanc’s children the Pakistan house should be transferred into. Whilst the discussions were still going on Ziggy went with his father to Pakistan and transferred the house out of his father’s name. Ziggy refuses to reveal to his brothers and sisters who now holds the legal title to the house in Pakistan. Ziggy’s uncle who has lived in the house for decades also refuses to disclose any information on the matter. Of note, is that Ziggy’s business partner also went to Pakistan when the legal title of the house was transferred. Mr. LeBlancc's house may have been transferred into Ziggy's business partner's name as part of a business deal. These kind of shady deals are often a prelude to forthcoming family disputes which can have disastrous effects on the family unit.

A few months later Mr. LeBlanc fell in the bathroom at his home in the UK and sustained injuries. Ziggy was away from home on some business, so Mr. LeBlanc was taken to the local hospital by his son Huzzy. Mr. LeBlanc was admitted to hospital. While in hospital Huzzy advised his father, Mr. LeBlanc, to write a Will as he was getting old. The plan was for the whole family to get together for Mr. LeBlanc to write his Will. Ziggy was totally against this and when faced with the prospect of family members gathering together to write Mr. LeBlanc’s Will, Ziggy informed his other siblings that Mr. LeBlanc already had a Will, a copy of which he produced from his bedroom.

Ziggy’s siblings were shocked when they read the contents of Mr. LeBlanc’s Will in which Ziggy was the sole heir and the sole executor of the Will. This is often a red flag. Furthermore, in the Will it stated that should Ziggy die before his father, Mr. LeBlanc, the whole of Mr. LeBlanc’s estate would go to Ziggy’s children. The Will had been executed a year earlier at Mr. LeBlanc’s house and signed by Ziggy's business partner who went to Pakistan when the house there was transferred out of Mr. LeBlanc's name.

A family meeting was quickly arranged at Mr. LeBlanc’s house to which Ziggy strongly protested and did not want anybody to record the meeting. Another red flag. A word of advise if you do have such a family meeting to settle disputes it is worth asking everyone who wishes to say anything to take an oath, if they refuse, then that is evidence in itself. Why would someone who wants to speak the truth refuse to take an oath?

The meeting was chaired by someone known to the whole family, someone who is not a blood relative of the family and who is familiar with these type of cases. When everyone had arrived the chairperson did a long audio-visual presentation to the participants explaining the importance of a Muslim to distribute his inheritance according to the law of  Allāh () and the importance of being fair and just to all of one’s children. It was emphasised that the Wills of Mr. LeBlanc and his wife were clearly against Islām and he cited verses 13 and 14 of surah Nisa, in English and in Urdu, to highlight this point. Mr. LeBlanc clearly stated at the meeting that all his children should have a share in his assets.

Despite all the evidence presented Ziggy objected to his father having his estate divided according to Islāmic principles, i.e., have an Islāmic Will. The meeting ended with family members making accusations and shouting with no agreement.

Discussions and negotiations continued amongst the siblings after the meeting via social media and telephone conversations. Ziggy agreed to tear up Mr. LeBlanc’s original Will, which was indeed done the next day.

However, the documents at the registry office show that a few days after Mr. LeBlanc’s Will was destroyed his house in the UK was transferred to Ziggy’s name. If Ziggy used the LPA to transfer the house then did he act according to the wishes or in the best interest of Mr. LeBlanc? Were adequate checks and due diligence done by the solicitor involved? Transfer of proprietorship under such circumstances can be deemed to be null and void. 

Other documents show that Ziggy had also sold all of Mr. LeBlanc’s shops without the consent and knowledge of his father, Mr. LeBlanc, under unusual circumstances.

So, effectively Mr. LeBlanc has no assets to his name which makes him even more vulnerable than he was due to his physical and mental health.

It is important to note that Mr. LeBlanc at the meeting at his house in front of all his children clearly stated that all his children should have a share in his assets, he re-iterated this, subsequently, at his daughter's house. He still believes he is the owner of his house in the UK.

All those around Ziggy including his wife, children, siblings and other relatives are wondering what they should do and what they can do about what Ziggy has done. What is their legal, moral and Islāmic responsibilities? When a wrong has been committed and a Muslim knows about it what is his/ her duty?

 

Discussion

This kind of case involving financial abuse is not so unusual.  As the Asian population in the UK has become richer over the decades, largely due to rising property prices, family disputes and court cases regarding the distribution of wealth amongst the heirs has increased and this trend is likely to continue.

One family member carrying out financial transactions about assets he/ she does not own in secrecy without informing other family members is a red flag. Only those close to you whom you trust can deceive you, usually your own children. Putting all the assets into one child's name and instructing him to distribute the assets amongst the other siblings rarely works and is likely to lead to disputes.

It s important to instil into your children Islāmic values, the importance of accountability, not to violate the rights of others and the belief that they will be accountable for what they do on the Day of Judgment.

Although an Islāmic Will in a non-Islāmic country is very important and should be written, it does not guarantee that your estate will be distributed according to Islām. It is necessary to have other measures in place.

Parents should treat their children equally when giving lifetime gifts and these should not be used as a means of depriving certain children out of their inheritance rights. The concept of dis-inheriting a legal heir by use of such measures as 'aaq nama is un-Islāmic even if you announce your intentions. Allāh () has warned those who transgress His law of inheritance in verses 13-14 of sura Nisa.

Note that merely having the legal title to a property does not automatically mean that you own it. If the legal title has been acquired by deception then ownership is not transferred. If parents transfer a property into the name of one child (usually the eldest son) with the aim that he/ she will distribute it amongst the other children when the parents die then the property is effectively being held in trust.

A LPA (last power of attorney) is only appointed if an individual has full mental capacity. To apply for power to manage the financial affairs of someone who has been shown to lack mental capacity then one needs to apply to the appropriate agency, the Court of Protection (England and Wales) or the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) or the Office of Care and Protection (N. Ireland).

The importance of choosing the right person as your attorney in a LPA cannot be over emphasised. Needless to say, it should be someone you trust. Despite Gordon Brown, twelve years ago, in 2007, introducing new controls to try to prevent fraud in Britain’s power of attorney system vulnerable people to be financially abused often by their own family members, particularly, sons and daughters, the former being more common.

If you suspect that an attorney in a LPA is abusing his position in the case of a vulnerable individual, that is to say not acting in line with the desires and best interests of the donor, you can report this to the Office of Public Guardian in England or Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) or Courts and Tribunals (N. Ireland).

Financial abuse of a vulnerable adult can also be reported to the local social services who will take action under The Care Act 2014 (England) and  Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 

Sometimes the only way is to achieve a goal is to prosecute the perpetrator through your own solicitor. Whichever route you decide to take it is important to seek appropriate legal advice in all cases.

More often than not, close friends and relatives know that a wrong is being committed but opt to remain silent and do nothing. It is the duty of a Muslim to try to correct a wrong.  The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim

It is worth reading tafsir of ayah 7:165 (note no. 125) on this subject of doing something when one sees a wrong being committed, which is available in English and in Urdu.

It is also the duty of the close relatives of the wrongdoer to stand up for justice and the truth. Allāh (says in surah Nisa ayah no. 135, "O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allāh, even if it be against yourselves or (your) parents and nearest kin."

Sometimes, if those involved are Muslims then, it is also worth seeking advice from religious scholars and if possible get a legal Islāmic ruling (fatawa). An Islāmic ruling in such a case is cited below with the following key questions from an Islāmic perspective:

Q1. What is the status of property acquired by deception?

Q2. What is the responsibility of the wife and grown-up children to explain to their father what he has done is very wrong?

Q3. In the event of death with the wife and children inheriting the house acquired by dubious means what is the legal status of the property for them, is it halāl or harām, providing they know how it was acquired?

Q4. What should the wife and children do with this property (house) should they inherit it?

 

TIPS

  1. Always seek legal advice where financial abuse has taken place, particularly, if it involves a vulnerable individual.
  2. Try to settle the matter without going to court as this can often involve hefty charges.
  3. Matters can only be settled if the family members are willing to sit together to discuss the matter transparently. Doing financial transactions in secrecy without informing other family members is a red flag.
  4. If the family members are Muslims get an Islāmic scholar involved or perhaps even better get a religious ruling on the wrongdoings.
  5. The importance of bringing up children with the right moral values of what is right and what is wrong, and religious values halāl and harām, cannot be over emphasized. Instil into your children the importance of accountability, not to violate the rights of others and the belief that they will be accountable for what they do on the Day of Judgment when nothing will be hidden.
  6. Discuss any lifetime gifts you make as well as your Will with your children, spouses ad relatives. Explain to them what you are planning to do and why, so that there are no surprises for the relatives. Giving reasons in the Will as to why the estate is distributed as it is, is to be discouraged, as the accuracy of the statement may be challenged after the testator’s death, and the Will may be exposed to testamentary libel.
  7. Note that although it is very important to write an Islāmic Will, it does not guarantee that your estate will be distributed according to Islām. It is necessary to have other measures in place.
  8. In Islām assets hidden by the use of legal instruments to deprive a legal heir of his inheritance right does not diminish the rights of the legal heir to claim his legal share of the inheritance without any time limit.
  9. Property or other wealth acquired by illegal means or by deception or by misuse of trust cannot be inherited it must be returned to its original owners.
  10. Remember that in the end all will be revealed and every act will need to be justified. Don’t spoil your akhira for worldly gains.

 



 

QUESTION : DISINHERIT AND ADOPTION

Assalmoalaikum,

1.  What is Islamic view of a father leaving a Will in which he disinherits one of his sons because he has been grossly disobedient to the father?

2.  If a child is adopted from birth does that child have a right to inherit from his adopted parents or his natural parents or both?  All parties are believers. 

In this particular case the natural father indicated that the child he had given away at birth should not be included in his inheritance as the child will inherit from his adopted parents.

I will be grateful for your answer, as this is a real situation that is confronting me.

Jazakallah

REPLY:

1. The concept of dis-inheriting a legal heir by use of such measures as 'aaq nama is un-Islāmic even if you announce your intentions. Allāh () has warned those who transgress His law of inheritance in verses 13-14 of sura Nisa.

The rights of the dis-inherited heir are not diminished in any way in Sharīʿa.

2. Legal adoption as practised in the West, which involves the total and legal transfer of a child from one set of parents to another set of parents, is forbidden in Islāmic law.

In the old customary system that operated in the Arabian peninsula prior to Islām adoption was allowed and it conferred mutual rights of inheritance. However, this was abolished by the revelation of āyāt 33:4-5.

There are no rights of inheritance between an adopted child (tabannī) and his adopted parents.

The mutual rights of a child and his biological parents remain as normal.



QUESTION : GIFTS, MARD-UL-MAUT AND INHERITANCE

Dear Brother
Assalam u alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu,

I am very much in a confusion as to what to do regarding this inheritance,

My mother is in the last stage of her life as she has been diagnosed with cancer, Let Us pray for her early recovery InshaAllah...
Dear Brother, My mother has 6 children( 5 daughters and 1 son(its Me)), She has 2 plots in Bangalore, one with higher dimension and another with a smaller dimension, She wants to give away all her property to me, the reason she gives is that, I am basically a Physically Handicap child( affected with a polio in a leg) has difficulting in walking long distance and cannot do field work, in other words hard work where it require travelling, I am basically an Electrical Engineer, right now my age is 30 yrs, I am employed in a company where they dont see my handicapness, but I dont know if I reach to some 40's, my strenght would collapse in leg, because day by day I have started to feel some pain in my leg and would loose the job, as i have family with a child too.

This is the main reason my mother wants to give away her assets to me, More over the property which she has is  the bigger plot she was given in mahar by my father some 38 yrs ago, and the smaller plot again by my father to be used in emergencies,

Now that she is moving towards her end life, there has been developed some conflicts between my sisters and me, Every one needs there share in her Assets, after all the argument, I agreed with my mother that her smaller plot will be divided among the sisters and the bigger plot will be given to me. some of the sisters also has objection to it, they say they need to put the value for whole assests and want there share according to islamic shariah law, My mother is refusing, she is telling all that I had got the bigger plot in my mahar and iam inclined to do what ever i want...Can u please hightlight some solutions using Quran and hadith to this... I dont want my mother to be in a position that, she will be blamed for injustice in front of Allah(SWT)...and answerable to the Almighty lord Allah(SWT).

Please Clarify, waiting for the early response.



QUESTION : INHERITANCE BETWEEN MUSLIM AND NON-MUSLIM

Sallam Allaikum dr.Abid Hussain,
Hello, my name is **** ******* & I am a re-vert to Islam. I have a situation that I need some advise about. My father is non Muslim. He has already made my sisters & brother aware that when he passes the bunglow that he owns will be sold & the whatever is recieved should be split between us.  My father does believe in one god & also heaven but he does not recognise GOD AS BEING ALLAH. I need to know if I am able to accept my inheritance or not?  Thankyou for your attention.
 
Jazak allah,

REPLY:

All the four main Sunni schools of jurisprudence (fiqh/ madhāhib) are agreed that a Muslim does not inherit from a non-Muslim based on the following hādīth: Narrated Usāma bin Zayd () : The rophet Muḥammad () said, “A Muslim cannot be the heir of a disbeliever, nor can a disbeliever be the heir of a Muslim.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, al-Muwaṭṭaʾ, Tirmidhī, Abū Dāwūd and Ibn Mājah)

Umar bin Shuaib () narrated: “The Prophet of Allāh said, “That persons of different religions cannot inherit from each other.”” (Tirmidhī, Ibn Mājah and Abū Dāwūd)



QUESTION : INHERITANCE AND BEQUEST

Salaams to you.
Question: can one of the brothers / sisters take a portion of the inheritance claiming that the father left a note to say one particular off spring paid for some plumbing and construction work - there was a not prepared by the father to highlight the costs that are attributed to the plumbing and construction work.
Jazakallah

REPLY:

Your question, the way it has been written is not quite clear however I will try to provide with relevant information which may answer your question.

1. In Sunni Islamic law the legal heirs as well as the quantum share of each legal is pre-determined which cannot be altered.

2. A person can write a Will in favour of a non-legal heir but this does not constitute inheritance.

3. Debts are payable prior to distribution of inheritance. Evidence to this effect may need to be produced if necessary.



QUESTION : FRAUDULENT WILL

IN MY FATHER WILL I HAVE INHERITATE MORE  SHARE THEN MY FIVE SISTERS AND THREE BROTHERS WHOM  ONE OF THEN DIED BEFORE MY FATHER. MY FATER DIED IN 8TH SEPTEMBER 1998. MY BROTHER DRAFTED FATHER WILL ACCORDING TO THEIR WILL WITHOUT THE CHIEF KADI..  NOW THE MATTER IS GO TO THE COURT TO CONFIRM MY FATER WILL WAS A FAURD AND ALL THAT BELONG ED TO OUR FATHER  IS THEIRS.  THEY ARE THE ONE TO MAKE FATHER WILL AND THEY THEM  ARE CALLING IT FAURD. WHERE IS THE TRUTH AND WHERE IS THE LIE. WHAT SHALL I DO AND THE SECRET OF INHERITANCE OF LOVE  OF MONEY COME TO ME. THEN THE REST OF THE FAMILY........... PLEASE  HELP WITH SUGGESTION TO SOLVE THE PROPLEM.  IN GOD I TRUST.   SALAAM     

REPLY:

Writing a fraudulent Will is a crime and a sin.

If the family cannot settle the matter between themselves and divide the inheritance according to Islamic then the matter can only be settled by the court.



QUESTION : INHERITANCE OF ORPHANED GRANDCHILD

AA,
After reading your article on Islamic Laws of Inheritance on islam101.com I have one question for you. Suppose a family runs a business which was started by the father. He has three sons,  all of whom have children. Say any son dies leaving behind 3 children. I have been told that in this scenario the children are not entitled to anything from the grandfather( after his death) under sharia law. This seems to be highly illogical since if the grandfather had died they would have gotten a share out of the property after their father's death.
Regards

REPLY:

In traditional Islamic law the orphaned grandchildren does not inherit. Please see my article on the subject.

Please note some articles acan only be seen by registered users.



QUESTION : GIFTS (HIBA)

Dear Dr. A. Hussain,
Assalaamu-Alaikkum-wa-Rahmathullaahi-wa-Barakaathuhu
QUESTION: My father has donated his full share of his property (land) to his niece (his sister's daughter) when I was at the age of 8 years (minor) and my sister was in my mother's womb.
I stay with my wife and two children in part of the land of the gifted property.
I am of the opinion that according to Sharia my sister and I are entitled to my fathers share as he had no right to donate his share to his niece when there were two rightful persons (my sister and I) as minors for my father's
share.
I am from Sri Lanka and Sunni Muslim.

REPLY:

From a purely legal point of view a Muslim may gift as he wishes during his life although he is strongly encouraged to be fair and equitable.
If your father gifted his land to his neice during his life-time then from a Shariah point of view this is valid. If the neice accepted the gift (land) she is the legal owner and you are not entitled to it.
Note a gift is totally different from inheritance. Inheritance only comes in to operation when someone dies.



QUESTION : INHERITANCE OF ORPHANED GRANDCHILD

Hello Sir,
I hope that this email finds you well. I read an article you wrote about the Islamic laws of Inheritance. I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. If the oldest son of a family dies before his parents, are his children entitled to any form of inheritance. I have not been able to find an answer to this.
Thank you for your time & have a good day,

REPLY:

According to traditional Islamic law, "No." Please see my article on the subject.

Please note some articles acan only be seen by registered users.



QUESTION : OWNERSHIP AND INHERITANCE

Assalamu Alaykum
Dr. Hussain
I have just read your article on the internet on inheritance and would appreciate if you could comment on the following:
I am married with 3 sons.
I have been married for 31 years and have been in employment for 29 years.
20 years ago we bought and paid R50 000.00 for the home we live in. 
However, as my husband has always been self-employed I became the registered owner of the property. (I paid the bond)
My husband has worked and provided for his family.   He has also been responsible for all renovations to the property. Given current property trends and renovations my home is currently valued at in excess of R1,5million.
My husband feels that my will should have a codicil stating that due to his financial contribution he has 100% ownership of the property upon my death.
Is this acceptable within the Shariah.  My mother lives with us and so does 2 of my sons.
Please revert should you find the time.
Shukran & Was-Salaam

REPLY:

A codicil if properly executed is part of the Will. From an Islamic perspective you should clarify before you or your husband die you must clarify the actual ownership of the house. Once this has been clarified then inheritance will be along rules of inheritance.



QUESTION : OWNERSHIP AND INHERITANCE

Sallumu-Alaikum,
My name is ******** ********. I read your post on islamic laws of inheritance on the web, and though i learned allot from what was said. However, I need futher clarification please. Let me try to say this in a short sentence as I possibly can. My father passed away january 25, 08. Three weeks after his death, his mother passed away too. So now my father's brothers are saying the 1/3rd that goes to my grandmother should go to them where they can divide amongst themselves. Well my father has 8 mansions and adequate amount of land and capital. Tell me, first, are they to receive the 1/3rd that goes to my grandmother(father's mother). Second, if they are to receive her shares, who is to determine what part of my father's asset will be part of her 1/3rd that would go to them. I asked because in the court back home they are trying to claim a home and assets that my father build for his immediate family in his village. I am not the type that care about material wealth especially that of my father's. I believe in working as hard to gain my financial status. But for the sake of my brothers, and sisters that have kids, I can't stand and see my father's asset split amongst his brothers and sisters when neither of them came to his aid when he was sick. Now that my father is gone, they want a large portion of my father's asset. however using  my grandmother share for distribution amongst themselve. Please if it is possible for you to further answer my inquiries via phone (And I pray that it is possible), my number is 334-341-7326. May Allah bless you for all you endavours in life and for islam. Sallamu-Alaikum.

REPLY:

Assalaamu alaikum wa rehmatullah,
Thank you for your e-mail.
Briefly:
1. Inheritance in Islam is based on blood relationship and valid nikah so even if your brothers/sisters had no contact with your father/grandmother they are entitled to inherit from them and vice versa.
2. When your father passed away his mother (i.e. your father's mother) would be entitled to inherit one-sixth of his estate because your father also left behind children as heirs.
3. When your grandmother passed away her children (i.e. your father's brothers and sisters) will inherit her estate. The son gets twice the share of a daughter.
4. Distribution of an estate is based on value of assets unless specified in the Will of the propositus and agreed upon by the legal heirs.
Wassalaam, A.H.
 


QUESTION : GIFT AND BEQUEST

as salaamualaikum
I will be most grateful if you could answer this very important question for my family. We are 3 sisters and 2 brothers and my father is a very sucessful businessman mashallah. My father has made a will to the effect that everything is to be divided according to the sharia, however  an extra 20% of the company is to be given to my eldest brother who at present is running the business. This 20%  is to be  given as a working share to my brother. My brother at present is the managing director of the company and enjoys all the benefits that come from that ie company car, chauffer, holidays,household expenses etc. My brother takes a very basic salary which is nowhere near what the engineers in our company. He says that the company cannot afford his salary and hence he should be given the extra 20% share in the company. We fear Allah  and would like to know whether it is permissible for my father to give the extra 20% share in the company to my brother or it is better for the shares to be divided according to the sharia and for my brother to take a decent salary from the company.
 
jazakallah for your time and eagerly awaiting a reply.

REPLY:

Assalaamu alaaikum wa rehmatullah,
Thank you for your e-mail. According to all the 4 Sunni islamic schools of inheritance a Muslim (testaor) cannot make a bequest in favour of a legal heir. This means that your father cannot write a bequest in favour of your brother in his Will, such a Will would be invalid according to Shariah Law (Sunni). Your father can give a gift to whomsoever he wants during his life time while he is in good health.
See my article on Islamic Law of Wills at
www.islaam.com
Wassalaam, A.H.



QUESTION : INHERITANCE LAW

Dr Abid Hussain Saaheb,
As Salaam u alay kum WWB

I have read with great interest your article on the above subject on the internet, for which I am greatly obliged to you. The paragraph relating to the 12 Quranic heirs includes a uterine brother (which I have understood to mean a brother sharing the same mother) but not a full brother (presumably a brother sharing the same father and mother). Is my understanding of the identity of the uterine and full brother correct? If so, have I understood correctly that the full brother does not form part of the 12 Quranic Heirs?
Wasalaam



REPLY:

Assalaamu alaikum wa rehmatullah,
The 12 Quranic heirs are:
1. Father
2. True Grandfather h.h.s.
3. Husband
4. Uterine brother
5. Mother
6. True grandmother
7. Widow
8. Daughter
9. Sons's daughter h.l.s.
10. Full sister
11. Consanguine sister
12. Uterine sister
 
Out the above 12 Quranic heirs (more accurately known as ashab-ul-farud), 9 are expressly mentioned in the Quran and 3 (granddaughter, true grand father and true grandmother) have been added by juristic analogy (qiyas).
Your understanding of full brother, consanguine brother and uterine brother is correct.
Wassalaam, A.H.