Q 1: My wife lived with me for thirty five years without begetting children, and she adopted my son by my first wife, who had died, when he was seven months old. In the month of Sha`ban, she asked me to let her visit her cousins. She stayed there for the whole month of Ramadan, and then she performed Sawm (fasting) for six days in Shawwal. She then fell sick and was carried to the hospital where she died. On her death bed, and in her last moments, she made a will to her cousins which included the following:All her gold bracelets and rings should be given to her brother `Ayid;Id cards and securities for 5,000 or more should be given to her adopted son Muhammad;This is in addition to some furniture and clothes at home which I intend to sell in a public auction so that their value is distributed among the heirs. She has only two brothers and two aunts. (Part No. 16; Page No. 316) My questions are:1- Was her will valid and not considered part of the inheritance, or
invalid because she made it on her death bed?2- Am I entitled to sell her furniture before the heirs arrive? I want to move to another area, and it might be difficult to move this furniture with me.3- Who is entitled to inherit? What is each one's share?
It is Haram (prohibited) for your wife to adopt your son by your first wife; he is not considered her son. As for her will for her brother, it is invalid, being a will for an heir. It cannot be carried out unless all the heirs approve of it. If they do not, the inheritance should be distributed normally among all the heirs. If any one of them is still a minor, their shares remain in their names. As for the will for her adopted son, it is permissible if not more than one third of her money; whereas the rest should be returned to the inheritance, unless all the heirs approve of this. As for the shares of the heirs, her husband takes half of them, and her brothers take the rest, if they are full brothers or brothers from the same father. If one of them is her full brother and the other is her paternal half brother, the rest of the inheritance goes to the full brother, after repaying the debts owed by her if there are any and carrying out her will for her adopted son. There is nothing due to her aunts. It is impermissible for you to sell the furniture (Part No. 16; Page No. 317) unless all the heirs approve of this, as they have right to it. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.