Estate Planning for American Muslims

COVID-19 - Message from our Founder

We have received a lot of questions from people who want to know how to create a will during this pandemic. Please watch the video below from our founder*.

*Yaser Ali is author of Estate Planning for the Muslim Client published by the American Bar Assocation.

How it Works

Estate planning and Islamic Inheritance law are complex. Most Muslims don’t even know where to start. Our goal is to simplify the process for every American Muslim.

Take the Questionnaire

Creating your will involves answering some basic questions about you, your family, your financial affairs, and some preferences. It usually takes about 30 minutes.

Get Your Free Will

This site was designed by expert attorneys who are well versed in Islamic Inheritance laws. Our powerful tool even calculates the shares for each of your beneficiaries according to Islamic law.

Sign Your Documents

Once you receive your will, print it out and follow the signing instructions in order to make it legally valid. Your information will be securely stored so you can come back and update it as often as you’d like.

About Us

Our team consists of graduates from top American law schools who are trained in classical Islamic law as well as Silicon Valley trained technology talent.

Yaser Ali

A graduate of Harvard University and UC Berkeley School of Law, Hafiz Yaser Ali J.D. is uniquely qualified to synthesize Islamic legal issues in a modern American context. He specializes in providing Shariah-compliant estate and business planning solutions to Muslim clients around the United States.

Zafir Khan

Zafir Khan is a software engineer with years of experience at Silicon Valley technology firms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Estate Planning is the process of creating a plan to:

1) Control your assets while you are alive and well
2) Care for yourself and your loved ones in the event of incapacity
3) Give what you own to those who you want upon your death in a tax-efficient, cost-effective, and well-organized manner
We hear that a lot. People think estate planning is something only the rich or elderly should do. But in reality, your “estate” is simply a fancy way of saying “your stuff.” It’s everything you own subtracted by everything you owe.
Muslims believe that wealth is a trust from Allah. Just like we have obligations and restrictions on how we can earn and spend our wealth, we also don’t have unlimited discretion to dispose of it after our death. The Prophet Muhammad SAW is reported to have said a believer should not let two nights pass without preparing a written will (or estate plan as we known it). Under the Islamic Law of Inheritance—which is the default system of inheritance for Muslims in most Muslim-majority countries as well as in countries with historically large Muslim minorities—a Muslim’s assets must be distributed based upon certain rules laid out in the Quran, the Muslim holy scripture, and the Hadith, the normative traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.
In the United States, people are typically free to leave whatever they want to whomever they want after they die, with the exception of a surviving spouse, whose share is protected under most state laws, so long as they prepare a legally valid estate plan before their death. Thus, absent a challenge by the surviving spouse, a court will likely uphold a properly executed will and honor the decedent’s wishes. But if you’re concerned, keep reading for a better solution to this potential problem.
Most people have heard of a will. Your will accomplishes three primary objectives: (1) names individuals (or charitable organizations) who will receive your assets after your death, either by outright gift or in a trust; (2) nominates an executor who will be appointed and supervised by the probate court to manage your estate; pay your debts, expenses and taxes; and distribute your estate according to the instructions in your will; (3) include nominations of guardians for minor children. If nothing else, the third benefit is enough reason for every Muslim with children in the United States to prepare a will.
There is no catch. We want to ensure that every American Muslim should, at a minimum, have a basic legally valid will in place to protect their family. That’s what our free automated tool provides.
Yes, several in fact, which people often don’t realize. First off, a will does not control the disposition of any jointly owned assets (your home or joint bank accounts, for instance) or assets that already have beneficiary designations (life insurance policies or retirement accounts). Those assets automatically pass, as a matter of law, to the joint-owner or beneficiary. While that may not seem concerning at first blush, it’s important to note that it likely won’t be consistent with the Islamic rules of Inheritance. Second, wills have to go through the probate process which can be expensive, time-consuming, and open to the public.
Yes, in most cases, a living trust is superior to a will. A trust functions similarly to a will, but in most cases, is far more effective. With a revocable living trust, your assets are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime and transferred to your beneficiaries when you die — all without the need for court involvement. Thus a well-drafted and fully-funded trust avoids the need for an unnecessary probate proceeding and allows for efficient and private estate administration after your passing. In addition, a trust is a highly effective tool for incapacity planning.
Islamic estate planning implicates not only a client’s physical assets, but also her very body and life. Like other religions, Islam provides guidelines with respect to end-of-life planning, organ donations, funeral instructions, and disposition of a decedent’s body, which come into play when developing a Muslim client’s advance health care directives. The failure to have an advance directive in place may, unfortunately, result in an emotional dispute between loved ones regarding your treatment, or even worse, a prolonged and divisive court battle.
No, this basic will does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.
If you need a customized solution our Islamic estate planning attorneys can assist you. Contact us today.

Other Services

Muslims across America are asking how they can protect and pass their assets to their loved ones in accordance with their faith. Contact us if you’d like to discuss any of the following:

Islamic Estate Planning

We provide sophisticated and personalized business, tax, estate, and charitable planning strategies for Muslim clients around the country consistent with the Islamic Rules of Inheritance.

Business Planning

We design innovative solutions for individuals and entrepreneurs for business succession, asset protection, and transferring wealth to a client’s family and favorite charities.

Charitable Planning

We counsel families as to how to incorporate philanthropy into every plan in order to leave a legacy that benefits multiple generations.

Building Sustainable Institutions

We help non-profits of all sizes plan for the future, create sustainable endowments, and develop sophisticated planned giving programs.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Family disputes are bound to happen. Our attorneys are experienced and qualified to mediate inheritance and probate disputes outside of court.

Consulting services

Have other legal needs relating to Islamic law and succession planning that aren't described here. We're here to help.