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Law Society Issues Guidance on Sharia Wills

Law Society Issues Guidance on Sharia Wills

The Law Society has issued new guidance on drawing up wills that incorporate principles of Sharia law in response to growing demand from the Muslim community. The guidance comes as courts have made clear that they are prepared to endorse marital financial agreements made under Sharia if they comply with English law.

The new advice says that clients in England and Wales can legally choose to bequeath their assets according to Sharia, providing that the will is signed in accordance with the requirements set out in the Wills Act 1837. The Law Society, the professional body for 150,000 solicitors, has received an increasing number of requests from solicitors who say that clients want wills that will withstand challenges in the courts while complying with their religious principles.

Strict rules on who can inherit

There are strict rules under Sharia on who can inherit. The guidance says: “The main difficulty for solicitors preparing a Sharia-compliant will is the inability to state in advance who the Sharia heirs will be, as the identity of the heirs and their respective entitlements can only be determined at the date of the testator’s death.” Nicholas Fluck, president of the Law Society, commented: ‘There is a wide variety of spiritual, religious and cultural beliefs within our population, and the Law Society wants to support its members so they can help clients from all backgrounds.”

Sharia rules are not identical in every Muslim country: there are differences between Sunni and Shia rules, and different interpretations of Sunni law. The Law Society’s advice focuses on the Sunni rules.

For more information and advice on issues concerning wills, trusts and probate, please contact Jacqueline Almond Partner at IBB Solicitors, covering Buckinghamshire, West London, Uxbridge, Amersham, Chesham and surrounding counties.

Email: jacqueline.almond@ibblaw.co.uk or Phone 01492 790002