The Real Cost of a “FREE” Online Islamic Will
The Real Cost of a “FREE” Online Islamic Will
They say the world is your oyster. Nowadays, you might as well say Google is your oyster. Just Google the phrase “Free online Islamic Will,” and we are sure you will get a multitude of options to choose from. We have no doubt that those uploading free Islamic Wills to the World Wide Web are well-intentioned, but is it the right option for you as the person needing to write a Will?
In this article, we’ve delved a bit deeper into some of the free Islamic Will templates that we’ve seen being circulated to see what the real cost of such an Islamic Wills is. We compare and contrast against the service that Wasiyyah – Islamic Wills Made Easy offers because we needed to satisfy ourselves that we are actually adding value in this space.
Outlined below are some of the problems we spotted in the free online Islamic Wills we reviewed. To avoid identifying specific documents, we’ve described the issues we identified as generically as possible.
Before proceeding it’s also not uncommon for people to try and write their Islamic Will using cheap DIY kits. In addition to not having the benefit of proper Islamic oversight on the Will document that’s prepared – a lot of the problems identified below also apply in that context.
Problem 1: Directing that the estate be distributed in accordance with Islamic Law
The issue with referencing “Islamic Law,” “the Shariah,” “Islamic succession,” etc., as a means of asset distribution is that these have no standing in the Australian legal system. Imagine standing before a Supreme Court judge and saying, “Your Honour, my dad wished that his estate should be distributed according to Islamic Law.” The judge will turn around and say, “Sir, what is Islamic Law? I have no framework to apply it in Australia.”
This is the reason the Wills we write at Wasiyyah specify actual distributions that need to take place in a given scenario. We have done the work of writing out the Islamic distributions in terms that are recognizable and applicable in Australia, without lazily referring to “Islamic Law” and hoping that this will be applied by the Australian legal system.
Problem 2: Inappropriate drafting & completion instructions
In addition to the problems identified above, the following are some of the other drafting issues / completion instructions we identified:
- Wills are written to expressly identify beneficiaries and entitled shares. This places the Will at risk of redundancy at the time of execution if the circumstances have changed since the day the Will was written. The Wills we prepare are written flexibly so that they can be applied to any given circumstance.
- Errors in the description of Islamic principles as they relate to asset distribution.
- No clear nomination of an executor. The executor at law is the person who is authorized to deal with your affairs after you pass away. Appointing an executor is one of the fundamental purposes of writing a Will in the first place. It is important that this is done correctly and clearly.
- Absent, incomplete, or erroneous guidance being provided in the way Wills are required to be signed. Proper execution and completion of a Will document are amongst the first things a Court will assess in determining the validity of a Will. Refer to our signing instructions here.
Problem 3: Unknown or unqualified authors
If you were suffering from heart disease, would you go to a mechanic to treat it? If you need to file your taxes, would you go to a physiotherapist to do it for you? If you need a cake for a party, would you ask a carpenter to bake it for you?
Based on our review, we could not ascertain if the free online Islamic Will documents are written by people who are legally trained in Australia or not. The issues we spotted would suggest that it is highly unlikely to be the case. In the one instance where the author was identified, the author was not someone legally trained in Australia.
The form and framework of the Wills we write at Wasiyyah have been developed by Australian qualified legal practitioners and have been reviewed and endorsed by Islamic scholars who have expertise in matters of Islamic inheritance. We have done this to ensure that we are able to give effect to Islamic requirements as they relate to end-of-life matters in a way that is compliant with the Australian legal system.
Problem 4: Individuals are left to their own devices
The vast majority of free online Islamic Wills are “fill in the blank” templates with little, no, or very complicated instructions. So the question is, what if you fill it in incorrectly?
We understand that writing an Islamic Will can be a challenging exercise and one that is prone to mistakes. We address this possibility through our systems and processes. All that we ask you to do is answer a series of carefully curated questions. Our system has built-in smarts to minimize mistakes, like the use of Google APIs for inputting address data and progress prevention of those who seek to leave more than one-third of their estate to non-beneficiaries. We then have a team of trained individuals who prepare and review your Will document before sending it to you. In the event that we identify any issues, we will be in touch to clarify before finalizing your Will. With Wasiyyah, you are not left to your own devices, and you can be confident in the document you receive.
Following our review, what we can confidently say is that the old adage certainly rings true when it comes to preparing an Islamic Will – “you get what you pay for”.