Muslims are encouraged to be in this world as a stranger or a wayfarer. When evening comes, we do not expect to live till morning, and when morning comes, we do not expect to live till evening.
Almost everyone owns an estate. Your estate comprises everything you own such as your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, furniture, personal possessions. What will happen to your estate when you die?
Death is the only constant and it is good to decide how your estate will be distributed while you’re still alive. This process is called estate planning. Muslims believe that Allah SWT is the owner of all wealth and property. Humans are just the trustees. Thus, the estate must be disseminated according to Allah’s commands, which promote justice and equity. There are many tools that can be used such as Syariah-compliant Wills, Nuzriah and Hibah Ar-Ruqbah.
A Will or Wasiat is a set of instructions you leave behind when you die, for your appointed trustees or guardians for the benefit of your loved ones. These instructions deal with the distribution of your estate among beneficiaries, and also deal with your instructions on who is to take care of the young and pay for their education or maintenance, paying off debts, elderly care and funeral arrangements.
Writing a Will has many benefits. With a Will, you can:
Ensure a faster, cheaper process upon death
Choose Executors you trust to handle your affairs after you die
Choose Guardians to raise your young children after both parents die
Prevent potential family conflicts & fitnah
Express ourselves to relations after death
What is a Hibah Ar-Ruqbah?
A Hibah, in Arabic, means ‘Gift’. A Hibah document is accordingly a Deed of Gift, which is prepared jointly with a Wasiat. The Hibah Trust Deed is not a Wakaf or Nazar. The Hibah Ar-Ruqbah is a conditional gift that is returnable if the recipient predeceases the giver. For example, in the Hibzah document itself, the Donor says, “I give this land to you while you are alive, but if you predecease me the land must be returned to me, and if I predecease you, the land is for you.” From the latest case law, it is clear that the concept of a Hibah or a Deed of Gift is completely accepted in Muslim Law which is the applicable law for estate matters concerning Muslims, as provided for under Section 111 of the AMLA.
The Al-Ruqba aspect of the Deed, which literally means “waiting for the other to die”, is a contract of gift based on the survivorship principle: the survivor (Donor or Donee) of the gift contract will take the property when one party dies. It is quite similar to the survivorship principle in the Joint Tenancy contract.
For Hibahs where the disposition involves non-joint property, there is a need to obtain consent of all beneficiaries.
Otherwise, the Hibah would be invalid.
What are the effects of Hibah Al Ruqba on the Faraid law distribution?
The assets under the Hibah do not form part of the net estate of the Deceased that is to be distributed by Faraidh.
Must Hibah Al Ruqba beneficiaries be beneficiaries based on the Faraid law of distribution?
No, Hibah Al Ruqba beneficiaries are not confined to the beneficiaries based on the Faraid law of distribution. The beneficiaries to a Hibah Al Ruqba can become legal heirs, with their shares determined by the donor (deceased).
What happens after death? People are encouraged to make a Will so tha when they pass on, their assets will be distributed to their loved ones in a manner in which they desire. If you pass on without having first made a Will in Singapore, your estate and possessions will be divided according to the law of intestacy. Under these rules there are no guarantees that your estate shall be distributed as you would desire. If your loved one has just passed on, the various applications are as follows:
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