By Adil Daudi, Esq.
It is related from â€˜Abdullah ibn â€˜Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, â€œIt is not permissible for any Muslim who has something to will to stay for two nights without having his last will and testament written and kept ready with him.â€ Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 51, No. 1
Astonishingly enough, despite the obligatory verses put upon all Muslims, more than half of the Muslims residing in America have yet to establish an estate plan. With the blessed month of Ramadan upon us, it is a perfect opportunity for Muslims to satisfy a simple, yet very important duty, and take the initiative to create their estate plan. One of the most common excuses I hear from people who have yet to establish a plan is that they donâ€™t have the time. During this month, it should not be forgotten the importance of completing obligatory deeds, and if there is any month in which to perform and satisfy those deeds, it is now.
In addition to the religious benefit of setting up an estate plan, it can also serve as the blueprint for your financial life and your familyâ€™s financial future, as it is the process that helps you accumulate, conserve and give assets to your family. It further addresses your legal and financial concerns taking into account your goals and your tax considerations. The following are just some of the benefits a properly drafted estate plan can have:
1. Controls Distribution: Rather than letting the government dictate how your assets are to be distributed, take control and dictate it yourself. Your estate plan will make sure your wishes are met.
2. Reduce/Avoid Taxes: A well drafted estate plan can minimize or avoid estate taxes, income taxes and capital gains taxes.
3. Limit Liability Exposure: Estate plans often include a â€œno-contestâ€ provision. Such an election can discourage challenges to your estate plan, giving you additional assurances that your wishes will be honored.
4. Assist Beneficiaries: Many individuals, especially those with limited financial experience, can make unwise decisions when given an inheritance. Most time they struggle at making responsible decisions when handed a large sum of money at once. A sound estate plan can help inexperienced beneficiaries do the right thing with their inheritance, such as getting a good education, purchasing a home, getting a safe car and making wise investments.
5. Special Needs: A good estate plan provides for special needs beneficiaries by ensuring that they can receive their inheritance without losing their government assistance.
6. Protected: A good estate plan can give you peace of mind knowing that your affairs are in order and your loved ones are protected and provided for.
If you are on the hinge of deciding whether to make time for your estate plan this month, keep the following in mind: The Prophet, (pbuh), said:â€œâ€¦Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time… â€ [Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]
Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Shariah Estate Planning, Health Care Law, Business Litigation, and Corporate Formations. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 381-2663.