Muslim estate planning ahead of preparing for the pilgrimage of Hajj

The performance of Hajj is the religious pilgrimage by Muslims to the holy sites in the cities of Makkah and Medina and additional areas within Saudi Arabia.

The Hajj pilgrimage is due to take place in June this year as this is when the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah falls for 2024, this changes each year in accordance with the lunar calendar and includes the celebration of the second Eid, known as Eid ul Adha.

Hajj is one pillar of the compulsory five pillars of Islam and Muslims are required to complete this specific journey at least once in the lifetime if they have the means to do so. Of the approximately 4 million Muslims in the UK, there will be many that join the estimated 2 to 3 million Muslims globally expected to attend Hajj.

Many Muslims will take many weeks, if not months, to make the spiritual preparations for this journey, and some may have been saving up funds for years to be in the position to complete the opportunity. Others may get a last-minute chance and for them it is even more important to have a refresher on their estate planning needs.

There are many practical aspects which you can share to support Muslim estate planning and here we have listed five key points to consider.

  1. It is an ideal time for Muslims to take stock and reflect on any existing Will to ensure it covers the right beneficiaries and particularly to ensure any chosen charities remain in operation and to complete any minor updates.


  1. If there is no Will in place, then it is essential to take time out for specialist support on whether an Islamic Will is needed for Sharia-compliant wishes and to ensure one is put in place as that is best practice to ensure loved ones have been protected, it is regarded as neglectful to leave out any thought towards estate planning ahead of this key journey.


  1. Given the intention and aim of completing Hajj is to return with a life changing experience and fulfil one of the pillars, it is useful to review the other pillars such as fasting and prayers to reflect on whether any sums should be set aside in a Will as specific gifts and Muslims can utilise up to 1/3 of the estate for this action.


  1. As the Hajj pilgrimage involves going abroad for a significant period and given there is no guarantee of travel plans being smooth, it is helpful to be prepared with valid and registered Lasting Powers of Attorney in place particularly for any property and financial items to ensure chosen attorneys can access bank accounts in times of need and understand any faith-based instructions, even sending off the applications is a useful starting point.


  1. If there is certainty that there is no prospect or likelihood of completing the Hajj pilgrimage due to insufficient means or any form of terminal ill health preventing travel for example, then it is possible to prepare a Will where a proxy is appointed to complete this on your behalf when you are no longer here as a means of being a charitable reward, provided the cost of this does not exceed the 1/3 ‘free Will’ aspect of the Muslim estate planning activities.

Yasmin Hoque, co-founder of faith-inspired social enterprise legal practice, AL-HQ Law & More and consultant solicitor and Sharia Law specialist at Jurit LLP.

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