What do the scholars and experts of shari’ah say regarding my situation? Before my husband passed away, he bequeathed to his son that any wealth he (my husband) has will pass on to me (the wife). My husband has also mentioned this many times in the presence of other people and for this reason many people close to us are aware of this. I have also worked throughout our married life and would put my money into a joint account with my husband. What is the ruling of my husbands will?
The scholars have stated that a person’s wealth can be bequeathed to the inheritors as well as any non-inheritors. This will apply to one-third of the inheritance, the remaining two-thirds will be divided amongst the inheritors as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. There is no need to seek permission from the inheritors in regard to the one-third. If the amount bequeathed is a greater than a third of the decease’s wealth, then permission of the inheritors must be sought.
When the deceased has bequeathed more than a third of his wealth then the following rulings apply in relation to the two-thirds:
- If the inheritors all agree to the will, then the bequest will be acted upon.
- If they refuse, then only a third of the wealth will be distributed according to the will and the remaining two-thirds will be divided amongst the inheritors.
- If some of the inheritors refuse and some accept, then the inheritance of those who accepted shall be distributed according to the will. Those who rejected it shall keep their share of the inheritance.
This is all based on the fact that the deceased made a will from his own accord, and he was fully aware of what he was doing.
In regard to the scenario presented in the question, as the husband only verbally told the son his decision then it shall only be fulfilled if the remaining inheritors accept his word. If the remaining inheritors accept this, then one-third of the inheritance will be passed on the decease’s wife. The ruling regarding the two-thirds of the remaining inheritance will be as mentioned previously.
And Allah ﷻ knows the best
This fatwa is written by Dr Hafiz Muhammad Munir al-Azhari