Muslim Estate Planning in Singapore

muslim estate planning singapore


Farā’id, or Islamic Inheritance Law / Muslim Intestate Succession Law governs the situation when the deceased Muslim passes away without making a will or when there is no agreement among his heirs on how his estate should be distributed. In Singapore, Farā’id is provided for in the Administration of Muslim Law Act (“AMLA”), and is the most common way in which Muslims distribute their estates in Singapore.

Can Muslims plan for their Estates in Singapore?

A common misconception among Muslims in Singapore is that since there are Farā’id and other Muslim bodies such as Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (“MUIS”) and the Syariah Court, it is not possible to plan for their estates by distributing their assets through a will (Wasiyyah).

This cannot be further from the truth. Muslims can indeed create valid wills in Singapore to distribute their wealth after passing on. The main issue is that these wills have to be created with Farā’id principles in mind.

Under Farā’id, the deceased Muslim may only distribute up to one third of his estate through the operation of a will, and anything else above this one third will not be valid. In addition, the deceased Muslim cannot make additional distributions to those who are beneficiaries under Farā’id. If the deceased Muslim does so, these distributions will be considered invalid unless all of the other beneficiaries under Farā’id agree.

Why is it useful for Muslims to plan for their estates in Singapore?

1) In modern-day Singapore, more and more Muslims are becoming affluent, and many Muslims have started to gather substantial assets. However, this increase in wealthier and more educated Muslims has not led to a corresponding increase in education and services regarding the proper planning of Muslim estates.

2) There is a general lack of knowledge regarding how civil law interacts with Farā’id. In particular, many Muslims may not be aware that there are a number of situations in which the civil law in Singapore applies as opposed to Farā’id. For example, CPF nominations, properties held under a joint tenancy, and certain types of insurance contracts will not be considered as part of a Muslim estate.

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