Friday Focus | Bequest to parents & next of kin

Quranic injunctions on property rights of the deceased are clear, however there is an advisory on accommodating the parents should they be living and the deserving amongst the next of kin beyond the legal inheritors, devised by Quranic injunctions:

‘’It is proscribed, when the death approaches any of you, if he leaves any goods, that he makes a bequest to parents and next of kin. According to reasonable usage, this is due from God fearing’’ [2:180]

Making provision for parents and next of kin may not be taken as an act of injustice to legal inheritors, but taken in the spirit of love and reverence for the ones who have brought up the one who testifies, as also moral obligation of the testator towards the one who might have lost rights by fate, such as orphaned grandchildren.

Changing the bequest after hearing it shall amount to a guilt, as laid down:

‘’If anyone changes the bequest after hearing it, the guilt shall be on those who make the changes. For Allah hears and knows (all things)’’ [2:181]

The bequest of the testator is inviolable; in case it stays within norms prescribed by Holy Quran, however were the prescription be a case of partiality or wrong-doing, there could be nothing wrong in bringing about a settlement:

‘’But if anyone fears partiality or wrong-doing on the part of testator and brings about a settlement among (the parties concerned) there is no wrong in him: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful’’ [2:182]

Jurists have held that testator has the power to disposition of up to one third of his property, within that provision he may accommodate his parents and orphaned grandchildren, or there could be outsiders for whom he may wish to provide, without hurting the interests of legal inheritors. Were it to occur, the testator may be asked to change it before he dies. Or, a mutually agreed settlement may be brought out between the parties concerned after his death, without resorting to needless litigation.