It is incumbent upon every Muslim to have a Will in place so that their worldly affairs are in order.

Why have a Will?

Having a Will gives you control of how your affairs are managed following your death. Failing to have one potentially leaves several decisions at the mercy of the legal and tax systems, which can lead to unnecessary delays and difficulties as well as leaving your estate open to challenge.

  • Inheritance tax : Due to the increase in property prices over the last decade, a growing number of individual estates are subject to inheritance tax which is 40% for values above £325,000 for individuals and £650,000 for couples, for more information refer to the government website www.gov.uk
  • Sharia compliant Wills: Unless you specify that you wish to divide your estate according to Islamic Sharia law, no consideration will be given to this and your estate will be subject to the law of the country. Islamic Finance Guru offers a useful source of information. Guides and FAQs www.islamicfinanceguru.com 

If circumstances change and your Will needs to be altered, do not amend the original Will. You will be required to create a new Will. Minor changes, like the name of the executor, can be made using a formal codicil document. Ensure the codicil is kept with the original Will.

Types of Wills

To establish a Will, there are some basic requirements that must be met:

  • You must be of sound mind and your wishes are clearly stated.
  • Two witnesses must be present when signing your Will. This is now possible remotely.
  • Executors – Consider who are the best people to ensure that your Will is implemented according to what is stipulated in it. Executors can also be beneficiaries. It is worth considering having two or three individuals whom you trust and who are dependable to avoid any delays in implementation or interpretation.

When considering any of the below options, please keep in mind that the Laws in England &Wales / Scotland and Northern Ireland vary so please consult the appropriate Legal Persons.

  • DIY / Basic Wills: While it is possible to buy or write a Will yourself, it is advisable that you understand and use the correct legal language otherwise your Will may not be valid. Visit www.gov.uk. for further information. These basic Wills tend to be used if your affairs are quite simple and straightforward and you are leaving everything to one individual/charity etc. These are not normally advisable for the majority of individuals.
  • Using a Solicitor: While this is sometimes viewed as an expensive option, you have the assurance that it has been drafted and approved by a legal expert in this area. Often Solicitors will store a copy of the Will for you. The cost can vary from £150 for a basic Will to £1,000 depending on the complexity of your financial affairs for example if you own property abroad, stocks and shares etc.
  • Specialist Wills: Trusts & Funds may be applicable to high net worth individuals or others. These Wills require careful consideration and tax planning. Whilst they cost more, the saving for beneficiaries and future generations can be substantial.
  • Sharia-compliant Wills: This requires specialist knowledge of Islamic Fiqh as well as the legal and tax systems of the country you live in. Many high street solicitors now offer this service, and it may be more cost-effective to use them.

Storage of Your Will

Inform your executor(s) where your Will is stored.

  • Store it at home, it should be easily accessible at the appropriate time.
  • You can use a solicitor to function as an executor. This can be a good option but carry a cost, check with your solicitor if this is an option.
  • You can store it with the Probate Service for a fee of £20 and only you can retrieve it whilst alive, solicitors cannot retrieve it for you.
  • Do not store it in a bank safety deposit box. Banks will not allow access to the Executors.
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