Many people understand that Muslim Americans still live by a code, much of it having to do with the principles and values that are dictated by the Quran and Islamic community. Muslims living in other countries might be bound by more strict rules or even sharia law, but Muslims living in America do have a greater number of options when planning for the future. Even though Muslims are allowed to engage in estate planning practices, they can experience discrimination when trying.
This is because many American lawyers simply are not well versed in Islamic practices — and, in fact, they are hesitant to do the extra work or ask their clients out of fear for their own reputations.
While it is true that family estate planning for a Muslim client will likely differ somewhat from a lawyer’s average client, these differences should not dissuade lawyers from taking on new clients from a subsection of our American society that is already left out.
Estate planning lawyers who are interested in providing services to these underrepresented individuals need not worry — there is plenty of information out there, much of it provided by the American Bar Association. Estate Planning for the Muslim Client is an especially useful resource developed for exactly this reason. It provides valuable information about issues that might arise due to religious principles and legal policies, and how property will likely be distributed upon a client’s death.
Planning for the future is not always only a burden for the lawyers who must draft relevant documents, but also for Muslim Americans who might not know the extent of the synergy between Islamic values and American law. There are many attorneys who provide the majority of their services to Muslim clients. If you live in a larger area, you might have no trouble finding one.
Either way, there is no need for the process to be so stressful!
This is what you can expect: first, ask an estate planning lawyer about their experience drafting documents for Muslim clients. If they have no experience, ask if they are willing to learn the process with you. You can set an appointment once you find the right lawyer. The lawyer will likely email you relevant information about estate planning laws. You should take the time to review as much as you can in order to ask questions about anything that seems confusing.
Most estate planning meetings take anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half, but you should be prepared to budget more time if your lawyer is unfamiliar with your needs. Be prepared to conduct this meeting online if in-person meetings are difficult due to COVID-19.
During the meeting, you will discuss the size of your estate, potential beneficiaries you would like to add to your plan, a living trust, last will and testament, power of attorney, etc.
Once an agreement is solidified, you and a witness will sign the agreement in front of a notary. This will conclude your business!