THE HEIRS (inheritors):
These family members have specific shares prescribed by Shariah. Although some of them may be cancelled or have their shares reduced in the presence of others. So you should list out your family members to the mufti so as he may state the inheritance formula. The fixed shares(faraizs are):
Father, Mother, Grand father, Brothers and sisters(of same mother, but different father), Husband, wife, daughter, grand daughter, blood sisters, sisters of same father, but not same mother and grand mothers.
If ever these family members are living at the time of death of a muslim, then first be concerned about their inheritance.
Know that these living family members of the deceased will always have a share of inheritance in any case: Father, mother, wife, husband and children.
After the faraizs shares, the Qur-aan teaches us to give the rest of the wealth to the `asabah. Asabah are first as follows:
(a) Son, grandson, great-grand-son.
(b) Father, grand-father, great-grand-father.
(c) Brother, nephew, son of nephew.
(d) Uncle (father’s brother), cousin (uncle’s son), son of cousin.
If the son or grand-son of the deceased is alive, then the three other groups will not inherit under `asabah.
2. If no person of the first group is alive, then the second group will inherit.
3. If none of the first two groups is alive, then the third group will inherit.
4. If none of the three first groups is alive, then the fourth group will inherit.
Priority order of each group
1. Son of deceased.
2. Grandson of deceased.
3. Great-grand-son of deceased.
If the son of the deceased is alive, the two other persons in the group will not inherit.
If the son has passed away, then the grand-son will become Asabah.
If the son and the grand-son have passed away, then the great-grand-son will have a share.
The asabah will take the rest of the estate, after the faraizs took their shares. Note that a son will bring the daughter as `asabah and they would both inherit the rest, but with different fraction. The daughter will get half the share of the son. Similarly, in case where the brothers are inheriting, then they will cause the sisters to become `asabah with the sisters having half share normally.
The science behind that the female gender inherit half the male gender is that a female does not have the responsibilities of spending on subordinates. My teacher Mufti Shabbir Saloojee used to say: ‘’As a daughter, she was under the financial custody of the father. As a wife she became under the financial responsibility of the husband. As a mother, she is looked after by her children. As a sister in need, she becomes under the responsibility of the brother to look after her.’’ As such, the son will inherit more so support the financial need of his mother, his wife and his daughter naturally. And also his sister, if she is suffering from financial difficulties.
GIFTS GIVEN TO CHILDREN DURING LIFETIME:
If a portion of the wealth has been given during the lifetime of the deceased, then that portion will be considered as a gift and not as a share of the inheritance. If, however, such a gift has been offered to a child, then an equal amount will have to be offered to the other children in order to correct that injustice. In gifting during lifetime, there will be no difference between gender: boys and girls will receive the same amount. Note that if you gifted a child while depriving others, then this is considered a sin and an injustice according to shariah. There is only one exception that you may gift the child more than the other children is that when the child has devoted his life to the upliftment of deen and `ilm. Reported in Bukhari that Hazrat Abu Bakr siddiq r.a. did offer Hazrat Aisha r.a. a gift. Ulamas says that it was due to her situation as a widow of the prophet SAW, devoted to teach others deen of Allah(Bukhari).
AN ADOPTED CHILD`S INHERITANCE:
An adopted child cannot inherit from his adopted parents. He can only inherit from his biological father or blood relations in true relationship. Therefore, an adopted child has no right whatsoever to his adopted family’s inheritance. However, the adopted parents can offer him a gift when they are alive or establish a wasiyyat in his favour to the limit of 1/3 of the inheritance.
At the time of adopting a child, it is preferable to do so before he becomes two years old and make him drink the milk of his adoptive mother. In this way, he will become a mahram in that family. Otherwise, he will remain a stranger in that family and when he comes of age, he will be treated as a stranger and pardah will be necessary in his presence.
INHERITANCE OF A GOING CONCERN:
On the death of a Muslim, his heirs become immediate owners of his property. The heirs have to take possession of all that he has left behind, without delay. It would be unjust to leave property without distributing it, when the heirs demanding their share and rightly so. Everything must be done to share out inheritance to those who have a right to it and thus enable them to become owners of property they have inherited. The heirs can agree between themselves about the sharing out of the property of the deceased.
In case there is no agreement between the heirs, the property will have to be assessed as to its value and distributed in accordance with the share of each heir. If it is an indivisible property, then it will have to be sold and the proceeds distributed to the heirs.
As regards the business left by the deceased, an inventory has to be made to ascertain the value of the stock, the transaction in operation and the building of the business. A representative of the heirs can be designated to conduct the inventory while allowing the business to continue to operate and to establish the value of all transactions. The business can become a company where each heir will have shares. Any heir who will work in the company will draw a salary, and the others will benefit from a share of the profits at the end of each month or year.
AN ORPHAN`S INHERITANCE:
If a child is an orphan, a guardian will have to be appointed, a person who is pious (deendaar), to manage the inheritance to which the child is entitled until he reaches the age of 21 years, when he attains his maturity. If the property is in cash, then it would be desirable to purchase land in his name so as to avoid depreciation of the value of the inheritance.
On attaining his maturity, the property will be allocated to him when he will be able to manage his property himself. Expenses incurred on the child will be charged to his property.