Prophet Muhammad S.A.W said : “It 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.”

Hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Umar

What is a Wasiat?

Wasiat is a vow or declaration that you make during your lifetime with respect to your property or benefit thereof, to be carried out for the purpose of charity or for any other purpose permissible by Islamic Law after your demise. Wasiat has features that are exclusively for those practising the Muslim faith. 

In Islam, the making of a Wasiat is recommended by Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. to ensure that there is an appointment of a Wasi (executor/trustee), who will be the person who is responsible to distribute the assets of the Testator to the Waris (beneficiaries). The portions and Quranic Heirs mentioned are also compiled to be known as a system – Faraid.

Waris or Heirs are specifically identified in Islam. The following main heirs are never excluded from a deceased’s inheritance provided that they are Muslims:

  • Husband
  • Wives
  • Parents
  • Legitimate children

Grandchildren, for example, are not automatically regarded as heirs and would only benefit under certain circumstances.

Those not regarded as heirs in Islam include, among others:

  • Adopted children
  • Illegitimate children
  • Foster parents
  • Non-muslim family members

Even though a Muslim’s assets will be distributed according to Faraid, by having a surat Wasiat one can expedite the legal process for their beneficiaries to liquidate the assets. This is because Faraid does not mean that beneficiaries can obtain their entitlement immediately after the death of a person. Faraid exists in harmony with Wasiat. A testator can also make provisions to benefit their loved ones who do not fall within the category of beneficiaries in Islam, for example, adopted children, non-Muslim parents or any charitable body.

You will need to appoint a witness when writing a Wasiat. To make sure of the validity of the will or Wasiat, you must sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses who are 18 years old and above. For Wasiat, witnesses must be male Muslims.

A Wasiat can be reviewed and updated during the testator’s lifetime. It should be reviewed and updated upon marriage, or remarriage or upon the occurrence of events. that would cause revocation of a will.

There are two types of Wasiat:

  • A Wasiat where the testator can give property or asset to a non-beneficiary who is not entitled to anything under Faraid Law. Only 1/3 of the assets that are not administered after deduction of liabilities can be given. The remaining 2/3 of the Testator’s assets will remain the lawful share of his or her beneficiaries under Faraid Law.
  • A Wasiat where the testator can choose to donate more than 1/3 of his or her assets provided that the beneficiaries agree.

What can a Wasiat do for you?

Your choice of wasi (executor)

Your settlement of debts and liabilities

Your arrangement(s) for your children

Your allocation of gifts to your loved ones or charity

Faster way of estate distribution

Why is Wasiat Custodian important to you?

A Wasiat serves no purpose if no one can find it

Your Wasiat is systematically catalogued and securely kept

The confidentiality of your Wasiat is preserved

Your Wasiat can be easily located and retrieved when the need arises

What happens if you don’t have a Wasiat?

Do you know that as of July 2017, there remains more than RM327mil amount due to beneficiaries of life insurance policies that has yet to be claimed? In 2016, RM64mil was submitted by members under the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) to the Registrar of Unclaimed Money. LIAM shared that almost all the policyholders affected by this issue were unreach­able, mostly because their contact information was outdated.

This is another reason why having a will, ensuring your information is updated and naming a beneficiary is crucial. It will ensure your beneficiaries will not have to go through a lot of trouble to get the pay out money.

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