Paying a debt and the expenses of a condolence meeting from the estate of the deceased
We reviewed request no. 2033 for the year 2006 which includes the following:
- Before he passed away, my husband borrowed 5000 LE as a down payment for a family apartment since the building we were residing in was dilapidated. He wrote the new apartment in one of his daughters' name because he was not eligible to reserve an apartment. What is the ruling of Islamic law on this debt?
- After my husband's death, his brother held a condolence meeting at the village guesthouse and not at my husband's residence. I did not attend and neither did my daughters since it was only for men. What is the ruling of religion concerning the expenses of this meeting?
- I hired a lawyer to issue a notice of inheritance. All the heirs benefitted from it and obtained a copy of it. What is the ruling of religion on the expenses of issuing this notice?
If the case is indeed as stated in the question, then we determine the following:
The money that the inquirer's husband borrowed to purchase a family apartment is a debt owed on the estate. It is to be deducted from the estate before it is divided among the heirs. It must not be deducted from the shares of some heirs apart from others, whether some of them live in the apartment, benefit from it or for any other reason.
The condolence meeting expenses
The deceased's brother is to solely bear the expenses of the condolence meeting because the only expenses that are deducted from the estate of a deceased are those for washing his body, shrouding and burying him. The condolence meeting expenses and any others are considered voluntary expenses and no one is to bear them except the person who made them.
Notice of inheritance expenses
If there was a need to issue a notice of inheritance from which all the heirs would benefit, then they must all contribute towards the fees of the lawyer whom the inquirer hired for this purpose. But if there was not a general need for such a notice, then only the inquirer is to bear its expenses.
Allah the Almighty knows best.