Death is inevitable.
We all know that it is not an easy subject to discuss. Many say it is a very sensitive topic and feel that avoiding it is the best thing to do and many have even run away too far! When the time comes, most are clueless on what to do!
There are THREE things heirs MUST do are:
- Deceased’s burial handling (pengurusan jenazah);
- Settlement of deceased’s debts; and
- Manage deceased’s estate/property.
We believe that handling the No. 1 step above is not a problem. Most of the time, the locals, surau/mosque, and the community will lend their hands to hasten the process.
But after the funeral, who should be responsible for the deceased’s debts and property? Here are some explanations to help you with the process.
Whether the deceased has left a will or not?
The next of kin would need to determine whether the deceased have left a Will (for Non-Muslim) or Wasiat (for Muslims).
As we know, Wills or Wasiat are the wishes of the deceased in regard to their assets. An executor/trustee/wasi is appointed who would be responsible in distributing the assets of the deceased to the beneficiaries.
Hence, should there be a Will or Wasiat exists made by the deceased, the heirs are obliged to comply with the Will or Wasiat. However, do take note that Will and Wasiat slightly differs in terms of the law whereby Wasiat will be governed under Syariah Law but nonetheless both carries the same principle which is to convey the oath or wishes of the deceased as well as to manage assets of the deceased.
But what if there is no will? What should you do?
If there is no will, then application for Letter of Administration should be made.
Identify the rightful heirs.
Who are the heirs entitled to the property of the deceased? Who should receive what? How should the properties be divided?
It is important to identify the rightful heirs. If there is a Will, then the assets specified in the Will shall only be distributed the heirs stated in the Will.
For Muslims, they can distribute deceased’s assets through Faraid whereby distribution will be based of the portion provided to the Quranic heirs as set out in the Quran.
For example, according to Faraid, husband’s property is not 100% owned by the Wife, and vice versa! When the husband dies, the right of a wife, based on Faraid, is only 1/8 or 1/4 of the husband’s property.
But in the event that the heirs decided to distribute the property by mutual division, they can do so too!
If you are unsure about this topic, you can always consult lawyers for a better understanding of the inheritance affairs.
Always remain proactive
Most of the time, when the husband passed away, the wife will take over the family’s affairs. During this grieving period, many are emotionally unstable to make rational decisions.
Therefore, to ensure the family’s best interest is protected, wives should start being proactive.
Pay off deceased’s debts before distributing the property.
It is important that for the heirs of the deceased to list down the deceased’s debts. Assets cannot be distributed until deceased’s debts has been paid off.
For Muslims, the concept of debt has two definitions. One is debt to God and Two is the debt to fellow human beings. All these debts must be cleared off using the deceased’s inheritance.
Example of one’s debt to God includes:
- Unpaid Zakat;
- Incomplete fasts that have not been replaced;
- Unfulfilled wishes (hajat); and
- Hajj that has not been performed.
If you are unsure, look for consultations!
Property/Estate Management is not an easy task. It requires a lot of background knowledge and understanding of each heir’s rights. If you are in a state of confusion, seek professional help.
LawAKA has a dedicated and experienced Property/Estate Management team that can help you kick start and manage the property legal issues, such as:
- Management of the deceased property;
- Appointment of the Administrator for the deceased property;
- Distribution of the deceased property by way of mutual agreement or Faraid;
- Management of the deceased property either by Will or wothout Will
- Transfers the property to the beneficiairies.
Contact us now to get started.
Save your family before it’s too late.