Faraid Law: How Will It Affect Your Inheritance Proceedings?

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With a rich and diverse multicultural community in Singapore, including a well-represented Muslim population, it is no surprise that the country’s law also enshrines Muslim fundamentals. Although the English common law has influenced Singapore’s laws, Islamic law plays an integral role, especially when it comes to inheritance and succession. The Muslim law of inheritance, also known as Faraid law, consists of legal principles that govern the distribution of properties and assets among heirs following the passing of a domiciled Muslim person in Singapore. This inheritance law is administered by the Syariah court and is a section of Islamic law that is provided for under the Administration of the Muslim Law Act (AMLA). Our blog post will walk you through the impact Faraid law can have on you and your family if you are subject to the Muslim law of inheritance and more.

Exploring the Muslim Inheritance Law in Singapore: Understanding the Implications of Faraid Law

In compliance with section 111(1) of the AMLA, Muslims who pass away after 1 July 1968 must have their intestate property administered under Faraid law that specifies a fair distribution of the assets among the deceased’s heirs. This involves the endowment of the property among family members and even relatives in some cases. The Muslim law of inheritance states that only one-third of the deceased’s property and assets can be given away according to the Will. If more than this share is distributed, it will be considered invalid by law unless all his heirs have given their consent.

In general, the assets of an individual, regardless of whether they are Muslim or not, constitute real estate, bank accounts, investments and shares, vehicles, jewelry, and CPF (Central Provident Fund) accounts. However, if an asset is under a joint tenancy, the share will not be bequeathed to the heirs. This will instead be passed on to the surviving joint tenant(s).

As for the CPF monies, if a nominee(s) has been nominated, the amount will be shared among them. Under Faraid law, nominated CPF monies cannot be distributed to the deceased’s heirs. This condition also applies to insurance benefits or payouts that have already been nominated. In addition, a hibah (gift) that was given while the person was alive and a deed of family arrangement, which is a document that states the beneficiaries may make alterations to the distribution made under the Will (Wasiat), will not fall under the Faraid law.

When it comes to dividing assets under the Muslim law of inheritance in Singapore, as of 1 October 2017, no distinction has been put in effect with regard to the distribution of a husband’s and wife’s estates. Usually, the spouse and next-of-kin will receive more shares, with sons bequeathing twice that of daughters. Furthermore, if the deceased has made a vow (nazar), this will be deducted from the property before it is distributed under the Faraid law. Any debts or expenses that are related to the deceased’s death, including funerals, will also be deducted prior to the distribution.

Highlighting the Relevance of an Inheritance Certificate: The Impact of Not Having a Will

If the deceased has not left behind a Will, then an administrator will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration in order to distribute the estate according to a document referred to as an inheritance certificate. Under Faraid law, an inheritance certificate (issued by the Syariah court) can identify which beneficiaries are legally entitled to the deceased’s estate. Administrators who apply for this certificate are usually the next-of-kin and the beneficiaries of the deceased’s property. Moreover, the Muslim beneficiary has to be over 21 at the time of application. The beneficiaries also have the opportunity of getting a law firm that represents them to apply on their behalf.

If there is no rightful heir/claimant to the estate or if no heir has been included by the deceased, and if all the shares have been distributed to the beneficiaries with a portion that remains undistributed, the estate may go to the Baitulmal. This is an institution that serves as a trustee for Muslims and looks after non-inheritable portions of assets from which members of the Muslim public can benefit. The Baitulmal is handled by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, also known as MUIS or Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura.

Uncovering Islamic Intestate Succession: An Overview of Rightful Heirs (Waris)

Under the Muslim law of inheritance, intestate succession is based on a set of rules that govern the passing of property from generation to generation. The distribution of assets that occurs according to a Will is referred to as a testamentary succession. The heirs that are entitled to receive an estate are generally classified into three main classes and four subsidiary ones.

The three principal classes constitute Quranic heirs (or sharers), residuary, and distant kindred. Quranic heir’s shares have already been specified by the law. There are 12 Quranic heirs – husband, wife, father, mother, maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother and grandfather, daughter, daughter of a son, full and consanguine sisters, and uterine siblings.

Residuaries or agnate heirs come into play only if there is some estate left after the Quranic heirs have received their share. No females are included in this class, and they typically involve the offspring of the deceased (son or male descendants), the root of the deceased (father or grandfather of the deceased), and the offspring of the father and grandfather.

Distant kindred, also known as uterine heirs, only come into the picture in the absence of any Quranic heirs or residuaries. However, an exception to this circumstance may occur if there are no sharers or residuaries left behind apart from a living husband or wife of the deceased. In such a case, the uterine heir will inherit the remaining portion of the estate once the surviving husband or wife has received their rightful share. These heirs are typically classified into four categories: descendants and ascendants of the deceased and the descendants of parents and immediate grandparents.

Administering a Deceased’s Estate Under Faraid Law: Why You Need Legal Help

The rules of distribution under the Muslim law of inheritance are complex and involve a number of steps that require a Muslim lawyer who is well-versed in the Islamic law of inheritance. Whether you need assistance with drafting a Will, want to understand the common considerations that go into planning an estate, or would like to get some legal advice for your inheritance proceedings, hiring an excellent lawyer with years of experience will go a long way in preventing a biased distribution.

A. Rohim Noor Lila LLP is a leading Muslim law firm in Singapore committed to providing cost-effective and practical legal solutions for all our clients. Our professional and dedicated Syariah lawyers in Singapore have a lot of experience handling various aspects of estate planning, from inheritance proceedings, Will writing, and probates to assets divisions and so much more. Do not hesitate to reach out to us for more information regarding Muslim inheritance; we would be more than happy to guide you!

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