Estate plans are drafted to facilitate the transfer of one’s wealth upon death to designated beneficiaries. What happens when your client is a devout Muslim who wants to plan and distribute his estate in accordance with his religious beliefs and convictions as well as Islamic inheritance law? In that case, it is important to understand not only the basic tenets and beliefs of the Muslim faith but also how Islamic inheritance laws relate to and harmonize with existing federal and state law. Yaser Ali and Ahmed Shaikh have written Estate Planning for the Muslim Client, an excellent guide to assist attorneys with preparing estate plans that are consistent with a client’s religious beliefs and to help them understand the reasoning behind a client’s wishes.
The book begins with an introduction to the Islamic faith and to Islamic law and its sources. It explains the different schools of Islamic, such as Sunni Islam and the Shia tradition, before delving into a discussion of the unique ethical, legal, and public policy issues that might present some challenges for the attorney. In addition, the estate planning lawyer should be familiar with how Islamic law deals with marriage and divorce, property ownership, investments and gifts, and retirement planning. The last sections of the book are devoted to later life planning and issues relating to the disposition of property at death and ensuring that such assets are distributed in accordance with Islamic law. Appendix A provides a detailed order of heirs under Sunni inheritance law. Also in the appendices, the authors have provided sample forms, such as an advance health care directive, a last will and testament, and several others as well as a glossary defining some key Arabic terms.
Estate Planning for the Muslim Client provides a unique perspective to estate planning and can help attorneys better handle the unique legal issues and concerns for our ever-growing diverse population.