Wills, Trusts And Investments From An Islamic Finance Perspective - Abimbola Ajinibi


Friday, May 14, 2021 / 01:00 PM / Bukola Akinyele-Yisau for WebTV / Ecographics


A Will is a document that details how asset and property should be distributed. Mr. Abimbola Ajinibi the Vice President of FBN Quest Trustees made this point while speaking on the "The Dynamics of Islamic Wills, Trusts and Opportunities for Investments" during the Islamic Finance Weekly Special with Mrs. Bukola Akinyele-Yisau.

Speaking on wills from an Islamic perspective, he said it must align with Shariah rules and principles. According to him, Islamic wills are divided into two:

  1. A pre-determined portion according to Islamic Inheritance Law and
  2. Another portion that you as a testator have the freedom to decide how it is distributed. 

As a testator the property is divided into three areas and the Islamic inheritance law has specified and predetermined how it should be distributed. The list of heirs are the father, wife, son, husband, daughter, mother and a father.  There is flexibility in the one-third of the estate in which the testator can decide how he/she wants the property to be distributed which is known as Al- Wasiyya.

Speaking on the goal of estate planning, he said it is to prepare for the distribution of personal assets to beneficiaries at the time of death. On how Islamic Wills can be well explained to the average individual, he believed that it was better to differentiate between estate planning and wills.  

According to him, estate planning encompasses everything, such as the will, Al-Wassiyya, amongst others. "The essence of having an estate plan is for Muslims and individuals to generally plan their estates in order to avoid complications while they are alive or dead".

On why Islam emphasizes leaving a will, he said Islam takes it seriously because it is envisaged that there will be crises when an estate is not well planned or when a Muslim refuse to write a will. It is important for someone to write a will to ensure there will be no crises if death occurs.

Speaking on the basic principles of Islamic inheritance and how one can prepare a will, He said the Islamic will is rigid, non-flexible and pre-determined as it cannot be changed, we need to follow Islamic injunction when it is being done.  Highlighting the steps to follow while writing a will, he said the first is to list out the assets and second is to identify the nature of the asset and title.

He stated that it is important to consult professionals for advice such as the scholars who are vast with the Quran and Hadith.

"In one's lifetime, there are things one can do regarding having an estate. Having a trust is protective for the lifetime while will is what is done after death. The English trust came in form of the principle of Islamic trust. Trust is a very old concept" Ajinibi said. 

Speaking on the general Islamic rules for distributing one's equity interest in assets, he explained that whoever want to distribute asset has four duties upon death.

The first step is to pay the funeral expenses. This will determine what constitute for one-third and two-third of the estate. The AL-Wasiyya will take care of the one-third while the two-third will follow strictly with shariah rules of distribution.

For instance, the husband who does not have any children will inherit half of the estate, and a male child will be entitled to twice of what a female child will be entitled to. According to him, the distribution is complex and this means that one actually needs a professional consultant in order to get it done. 

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You can send an email to the FBNQuest team via contacttrustees@fbnquest.com

Also, it must be determined by the person who will be the heir. The first set of heirs are the husband, wife, daughter, son, mother, and the father are the immediate relative, another set is the daughter and son.

Speaking on the difference between a Trust and a Will, he said it is important to look at the entire estate planning which encompasses the Trust, the Will, and the power of Attorney. This includes medical power of Attorney and Financial power of Attorney.

He said, it is important to have both Trust and a Will. A Trust is effective while one is alive. It is an agreement between two parties for the benefit of the third person. The trustees will act for the benefit of the beneficiary, he said. Trust can be set up in form of a foundation, charity, and could be set up for one's family. Trust can be effective during the lifetime of an individual, while Wills is effective upon death.  The conventional trust can be revocable or irrevocable and may not be in perpetuity, but Islamic Trust or waqf is irrevocable as what you give is for God and must be in perpetuity.  According to him, Corporate bodies should engage in Mutawalli known as trustees.

Mr Ajinibi added that FBNQuest Trustees is the only trust company in Nigeria that has capability and expertise in Islamic estate planning and inheritance, with an in-house expert, and an Islamic scholar who is vast in Islamic inheritance. He said FBNQuest has been in the business for over 14 years, with Islamic products that can deepen the non-interest financial market. 


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