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5 Things You Should Know When Your Spouse Passes Away

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The death of your loved ones is a terrible event, but it can’t be avoided and it’s a reality that we have to face. If you are married, it is your hope and wish that you and your spouse will get to grow old together.

But if it is fated that he or she passes away prematurely while we are not ready, here are 5 things that you should know.

1. Can I claim alimony (nafkah) for maintenance of myself or for my kids from my late husband’s estate?

It is a man’s obligation to provide for his wife and kids while he was still alive. But once he passes away, you can only demand for alimony from his estate are those that are overdue only while he was still alive.

Any claim of the unpaid alimony can be filed in the Shariah Court. You will then need to present the court order to the estate’s Executor/Administrator for the purpose of payment.

2. I have access to my husband’s bank account. Can I withdraw the money inside and use it to carry on with my life?

All the wealth of the deceased is considered as inheritance. The priority is to pay off all debts and for the expenses for giving out the inheritance. If there is balance, then it will be distributed to the next of kin.

If a family member needs the money to carry on living before the above is taken care of, then it requires the approval from all the heirs before it can be used. The amount that can be taken is the one allowed for her share of Faraid entitlement out of the total estate.

If it exceeds her share, then she needs to repay it or get consent from all heirs to allow it to be used.

3. My husband puts my name as the nominee for his Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF)/Tabung Haji/Takaful, can I use the money for my own benefit?

A nominee for his EPF does not make you the beneficiary. A nominee can only act as Executor/Trustee for the money and it can’t be used for your own benefit. Instead, it must be used for the administrative part of the estate and if there are any balance left, then it must be distributed according to the Syariah law inheritance  to the respective heirs.

If an Executor/Administrator for the deceased’s estate have been appointed, it is better to surrender the money to ensure the transparency in administration and distribution of the estate, as well as to avoid conflicts.

Whereas a nominee for his Tabung Haji or Takaful depends on the type of nomination. If it being named on the basis of Hibah, then you can receive the money as beneficiary. But if the nominee is on the basis of Executor/Trustee, then you need to act in accordance of a nominee for EPF as mentioned above.

4. What are the steps to get a bigger portion from my share of Faraid?

Husband or wife of the deceased can make a claim for Matrimonial Asset (Harta Sepencarian) in the Shariah Court for the wealth that was acquired while you are both married. Through these claims, you are able to get a portion from the Matrimonial Asset that is decided by the Shariah Court as well as the portion based on Faraid.

5. What should I do if I was appointed as a trustee for my children’s estate who is still a minor?

All immovable property that is inherited by under-aged children needs to be registered under your name as a trustee.

For cash, it is best that you open a trust account for the children to be transparent. You need to ensure that the money will be managed and used for the welfare of the children. A trustee must be meticulous and make records or keep receipts on its usage and it must be used for the benefit of the children.

A Huge Burden

In managing the estate of someone who has passed away, the main objective is to ensure that the debt and expenses needs to be administered first, before the distribution can be made of what is left. Therefore, estate planning is very important, not only to ensure that the estate is managed well, but also to ensure the well-being of heirs is taken care of.

About the Author

The article is written by Ms Rahimah Binti Sazali, Assistant Manager, Estate Management Department of as-Salihin Trustee Berhad. as-Salihin offers full-fledged Islamic Estate Planning products and services such as Wasiat writing, declaration of Hibah, jointly acquired asset agreement, takaful trust and living trust.

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