*Applicable only to non-Muslims.
It is unfortunate that it has been a daily occurrence where we would see news headline beginning with “Parents killed in a car crash” or “Mother and son killed in an accident” or even “300 people killed in a plane crash.”
So the important question here arises – What happens to the inheritance when there is a simultaneous death of family members?
When this happens, the children would often be left in a state of confusion as to how inheritance comes into play.
Conditions to inherit
For the children to inherit on intestacy, he must have survived the deceased at the death of the parent even for a second. Let’s take this as an example:
“A son (A) and his father (B) was involved in an accident. A survived B by 5 minutes. A will inherit B’s assets.”
- The younger is deemed to survive the elder
In a slightly different situation, there may be cases where it is unascertainable on who survived the other. This applies when two or more persons from a family dies simultaneously in an accident. Here, we will look at Section 2 of the Presumption of Survivorship Act 1950 whereby the death is presumed to have occurred in order of seniority i.e. the younger is deemed to have survived the elder. Let’s take this as an example:
“A son (A) and his father (B) was involved in a plane crash. Nobody could ascertain who died first. The law will presume that the father died first and the son survived him. Therefore, A will still be entitled to inherit B’s assets as he is presumed to survive B. Since A also died in the plane crash, A’s portion from B’s property will be included in his assets and would be succeeded by A’s legal heirs.”
Another question that may arises:
Q: Who inherits if neither made a Will and have no children?
If the wife is younger than her husband, the husband is deemed to have died first.
Under the rule of intestacy, if he has no surviving parents, everything he owns will pass down to his wife. Otherwise, it will have to be split equally with the surviving parent/s and the wife.
Considering that the wife also died intestate, the combined estate of both his and hers then passes under the intestacy rules to her parents.
In conclusion, having a Will is important in order to safeguard the interest of your loved ones in the long run. In complicated situations, it is always advisable to first consult a professional who is well versed in the matter of will preparation or a company offering such services, as this is to ensure that your will is in compliance with all the necessary statutory requirements
This article is only applicable to non-Muslims as Muslims are abided by the law of Shariah. Distribution of assets will be in accordance with Faraid.