Does my wife need to sell the house?

Does my wife need to sell the house?

Strange question? I’ve been asked this many times.

Due to the country and system in which we live, as Muslims in England, a common problem is that the main asset which is owned is the house. Other than that, a couple doesn’t own much else of value. 

So, if you have a wife, a son, and a daughter then we know the distribution is 1/8 for the wife, 7/12 for the son and 7/24 for daughter…. so how do the son and daughter get their share?

Assuming everyone is over 18 and the husband was the sole owner of the house, the “easiest” way is for the wife to sell the house and assuming the house is worth £240,000: £70,000 goes to the daughter, £140,000 to the son and £30,000 to the mother. 

Not an ideal situation because it is unlikely that your wife (children’s mother) will be able to buy anywhere to live for £30,000.

There are two important considerations to be made:

  1. Try to ensure your house is owned at 50/50 that way your wife will have her 50% share upon your death but also the 1/8 share from your inheritance. If the house needs to now be sold she has a better chance of buying somewhere to live.
  2. As part of your letter of wishes, request that your wife is allowed to continue living in the house until such time as she either remarries, is able to raise the funds to give to the children in inheritance or unless the children desperately need the inheritance.

So back to the question, does my wife need to sell the house? 

You have probably gathered it isn’t strictly yes or no. The legal inheritors can agree to delay receipt (they may have to if probate takes a while anyway) or can insist on receipt and so the answer can vary.

If you have all your ducks in a line before you die, this issue shouldn’t become a problem.

Get started on your Islamic will today!

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