Sharia Law and English Will

The client (living in England) is currently married but separated from his wife (living in Malaysia). They have assets in Malaysia, but few in the UK. He wants an English Will (has a Malaysian one) but is worried that the wife will take most of the assets in line with Sharia Law if he dies and is not divorced. No children but wants to leave to his immediate family

I would normally write the English Will and not renounce the foreign Will, but I doubt the two Wills would be “compatible”.

Simply put, is the Sharia Will going to overrule the English one and is there any advice available. Does the separation make any difference, Does divorce make a difference especially if she remarries?

Many Thanks
Christian Bell
Rugby Wills & Legal Services

There is a Shariah dimension to this, but that is secondary to the English law aspect. Where is the client domiciled? The English law aspect depends on domicile and situs and type of assets.

As to the Shariah position generally, the wife’s share is unlikely to exceed a quarter, but if he were to Islamically divorce then she would not have any entitlement at all. I have previously suggested the benefits of marrying for, amongst other things, tax purposes. Dare I say it, by analogy, a divorce may have its benefits!

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