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Distribution of house after one spouse passes away

Fatwaa ID: 1535

Question:
Assalāmualaikum warahmatullah

If a property i.e. the main family home is split between husband and wife 50/50 and there is no savings and say for example the wife passes.

To distribute the will as per the shariah, how does the wife’s share pass to the children be managed?

If the children do not want to maintain a joint house with the father and want the cash equivalent of the share of the house?
In this case father would have the majority share

The desire would be not to sell the home as it would leave father and children more than likely not be able to afford a property on the split inheritance.

Answer:
In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

At the outset, we wish to clarify that the ownership of a property or family home is not split between the spouses 50/50 by default on virtue of the marriage. A spouse will only be a true co-owner if both purchased it together or if a valid gifting took place. We presume that the house in question is genuinely owned by the spouses 50/50. If that is not the case, then the following fatwaa will not be applicable.

The estate of a spouse, including his/her share in a property, will be divided according to the laws of Shari’ah. This includes the surviving spouse, children, parents, etc. It is not necessary for each heir to receive a share from every item left behind by the deceased. The estate as a whole is considered. As for management of a property, it will be pro rata the ownership percentage. For example, if a house was owned 50/50 and now the husband owns 75% and the children 25%, then the management of it will be according to this ratio as well.

If there is a dispute, then one person may buy out the share of another. If there is an irresolvable dispute, then the heirs will be forced to sell the property and the proceeds will then be distributed according to the ownership ratio.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York
https://askthemufti.us/

01/07/1445 AH – 07/25/2023 CE | AML1-8107

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين

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