Legatees of a Will

Question: Who can be a valid legatee/devisee?


In principle any person who is capable of holding property may be a valid legatee under a will and there is a consensus of the Muslim jurists however there are certain other conditions stipulated by different schools of thought:

a)      the legatee must be in existence at the time of making the will or at the time the will becomes effective;

b)      No will can be made to an apostate (a person who has renounced Islam), and on this issue there is consensus of all the schools; however, in case of a women apostate there is divergence of opinion.

c)       A will in favour of a child in the mother’s womb is valid according to Hanafi doctrine provided he is born within six months of the will.

d)      A will can be made for any legal, pious or charitable purpose. It can be made in favour of poor generally or in favour of a particular body of them.

e)      It is lawful to make a will in favour of a Masjid.

f)       A will can also be made either to an identified individual or in favour of a class.