According to Madhhab:
I have been appointed as an executor of a deceased's estate. there are certain family members that are assisting me to wind up the estate. what are my duties as an executor?
Should I, as an executor, request accurate records for every transaction, such as funds utilised for burial costs, feeding guest that attended the burial, virtuous acts carried out on behalf of the deceased, etc? Should I have a record of all funds and assets belonging to the estate before signing off any document?
If I'm not aware of the Shar'ie ruling in regards to any matter, should I, as an executor, find out from the Fatwa department before proceeding, or should I merely sign documentation on the instruction of my assistants? I don't want to be held accountable in the court of Almighty Allah Ta'aala.
There are two separate estates in our family that need to be resolved. Can the funds of one estate be used to sort out matters pertaining to the other estate?
(1). You as an executor should ensure that the estate is wounded up correctly in accordance to the Shari’ee law of succession ensuring that every heir receives his/her dues in full. You should also ensure that all un-Islamic bequests are discarded whilst permissible bequests are fulfilled. You will also have to attend to all matters pertaining to the estate. These are your primary and basic duties and responsibilities as the executor of the estate.
(2). The duty of executorship is no ordinary duty rather it is an Amaanat upon your shoulders which should be fulfilled in a satisfactory manner. It is therefore imperative and necessary that every transaction is recorded and all funds in fact to the last cent is accounted for, else you will be held accountable in the Court of Allah Ta'aala. You should therefore request receipts for all monies spent from the deceased estate (whether for burial or some virtuous cause, etc.) which should be placed on record. There should be total transparency in all matters and records should be made available if required by any heir and particularly in the case of a dispute arising (to the relevant parties involved). You should only sign off documents to release the funds when you are fully aware of the total amount of funds in the account and the shares that each heir will be receiving which should in accordance to Shariah.
Guests attending the funeral cannot be fed from the deceased estate, more so when there are naa-baaligh chidren amongst the heirs. Yes, if any particular baaligh heir/s wishes to feed guests, then he/she may do so from his/her personal funds. If funds were used from the deceased estate for feeding guests, then you should ensure that these funds are returned to the estate.
(3). You should not sign any documentation if you are not aware of the Shari’ee ruling in regards to that particular matter. The Quraan states, “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” We therefore advise that you communicate with a Darul Ifta in all matters pertaining to the deceased estate and on receiving their approval you may proceed with the various tasks entrusted to you. By doing so, you will be trying to fulfil your duties in accordance to Shariah.
(4). Each estate should be independently dealt with. Therefore, the funds of one estate should not be used to resolve matters pertaining to another estate.
AND ALLAH TA’ALA ALONE IN HIS INFINITE KNOWLEDGE KNOWS BEST
ANSWERED BY: Mufti Mohammed Desai
CHECKED AND APPROVED BY: Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B
Date: 28 Dhul Hiujjah 1440
English Date: 30 August 2019