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ISLAMIC ESTATE PLANNING: ANALYSING THE MALAYSIAN PERCEPTIONS ON WASIYYAH (WILL) AND BEQUEST PRACTICES

By SUHAILI ALMA'AMUN

Abstract

Islamic inheritance system is usually explained within the conceptual and mechanistic framework of faraid, bequest and gift (hibah). In Islam, there is no limitation on the transfers of wealth during the lifetime, but the disposal of estates upon the death is strictly subject to faraid and bequest rules. The salient feature of faraid implies that inheritance is subject to pre-determined quantum of shares of the eligible heirs. Bequest, on the other hand, is limited up to one-third of the estates value and only allowed to be given to the non-heirs. Considering Islamic estate planning and Islamic inheritance system within the same framework renders a new dimension as part of the Islamic economics and finance that calls an urgent investigation. Making a wasiyyah (will) is the most crucial part of such a system. In referring to the conflict of laws in defining the meaning and contents of wasiyyah, this study, however, selected wasiyyah which carries the meaning of a will and, secondly, bequest as the main concepts to research in this debate. The main aim of this research, thus, is to explore the perception of Malaysian Muslims towards wasiyyah and bequest from financial planning and economics points of view within the Islamic estate planning framework. Wasiyyah, hence, was analysed in terms of the Malaysian Muslims’ awareness and practice. Bequest, was examined in terms of their attitudes to leaving a bequest based on the life-cycle, altruism and dynasty bequest models with integration of the Islamic theory of wealth. This research further aims at analysing the perception of the wasiyyah writing providers with the objective of locating their opinions on various related issues. In responding to the research questions, primary data were collected through questionnaire with a sample of Malaysian Muslims to identify the demand side related issues, while semi-structured interview schedule used to assemble data from wasiyyah writing providers representing the supply side of the practice. In analysing the data, multiple analysis techniques were employed. In investigating the wasiyyah related issues, descriptive statistics, mean value and chi-square were used. Findings imply that the awareness level of wasiyyah was low reflecting their inadequate exposure of the wasiyyah ruling, professional means of wasiyyah writing and the importance of wasiyyah in estate planning. Thus, wasiyyah practice was a minority activity. Other findings reflect making a wasiyyah by means of traditional methods either handwritten by themselves or verbal wasiyyah were common practices, but, Malaysian people have gradually accepted the professional means of making a wasiyyah especially with ARB due to its credibility and its status as a government institution. Several factors were identified to be significant to the wasiyyah practice namely age, employment status, monthly income, amount of inheritance received previously, health status, having children, having adopted children, having grandchildren, knowledge, institutional factor and inheritance law. Other findings show that mass media were the main sources of their knowledge and to increase their awareness. The study also found that there was a conflict of interest in wasiyyah writing providers in terms of increasing awareness, educating people and profit maximization. They also differed in their perception on the ability of wasiyyah alone solving the estate problem comprehensively and showing their concerns over the manipulation of several estate planning instruments to avoid faraid. Investigation on the attitudes to leaving a bequest using multinomial logit model implies that such attitudes were influenced by several factors namely age, ethnicity, education, having grandchildren, employment status, monthly income, total assets value, importance of bequest, religiosity and inheritance law. Bequest motives were also examined by cross checking the findings from the types of bequest, verbatim responses and results obtained from the multinomial logit. To sum up, life-cycle, altruism and dynasty model co-existed in their bequest making with some of them observed the Islamic theory of wealth. Other additional finding shows that people did not utilize the bequest allocation especially those who had non-Muslim family members.

Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.dur.ac.uk:731
Provided by: Durham e-Theses

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