5 stages of Islamic estate distribution

Muslim estate planning-5 | pfaasia.com

5 stages to Islamic Estate Distribution

There is assumption that for Muslims, it is no need to do estate planning since their estate is already covered under the Faraid law of inheritance. This assumption is questionable and incorrect because under the Probate & Administration Act 1959 (revised 1972) all deceased estates are required by court to file in for probate and this applies to both Muslim and Non-Muslim. What this means is without proper estate planning, assets of the deceased Muslim or Non-Muslim shall be frozen until an executor or administrator is appointed.

Stage 1. Settlement of all funeral expenses & debts

The Muslim’s path is towards Al-Falah (success). Hence at this first stage is to pay expenses and settle actual or spiritual debts.

Key activities at this stage include :

  1. make payments for the funeral expenses such as for funeral rites, bathing the corpse, digging the grave and burying it etc.
  2. settlement of tangible or spiritual debts such as alms (zakat), taxes, atonement (kaffarah), obligatory pilgrimage(hajj) and fasting unperformed during fasting month.

Stage 2. Obtain Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration

Compile documents to verify death, locate important documents such Will, Trust documents and certify legitimate heirs to the estate.

Study the estate documents in front of the family and heirs, and consider and ascertain whether the deceased dies with testacy (dying with a valid will) or intestacy (dying without a will).

Key activities at this stage include :

  1. filing of the petition to Court as to either :
    • admit the will to probate and appoint the executor or
    • if there is no valid will appoint an administrator of the estate
  2. valuation of estates.
  3. obtain Faraid certificate for distribution and received Grant of Probate (if with a Will) or Letter of Administration(if without a Will).

Stage 3. Settlement of claims of ‘Harta Sepencarian’

Harta sepencarian is a property jointly acquired by husband and wife during the marriage when both parties have contributed either directly or indirectly. The surviving spouse is entittled to claim the portion thereof from the deceased spouse’s estate based on agree upon the quantum of distribution or decided by Syariah Court.

Stage 4. Distribution of 1/3 of estate in the Wasiyyah (Will)

After all is settled, then the balance estate will be distributed according to Wasiyyah, if there is a Will. The distribution of 1/3 of the estate shall be carried out once agreed by the heirs.

Stage 5. Distribution of remaining estate in accordance to Faraid law of inheritance

Distribution of the estate inheritance to the rightful heirs according to Faraid afer all things mentioned above has been settled.


    • heirs that are entitled to prescribed shares either 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 2/3, 1/3 or 1/6 are specifically stated in the Quran.
    • this is intended to effect a fair and equitable distribution of the estate.
    • male are given 2 shares of estate for every share given to a female with the reasoning that male is expected to assume more financial responsibility to take care of the female.

Islamic estate planning | pfaasia.com

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