Winding up the estate of a deceased who had a running business

Q: My father passed away about 2 years ago. Following legal proceedings, his estate is almost wound up. His assets include cash, a Kruger Rand and a business that is still running. We would now like to distribute his remaining assets as per Islamic Law. He left behind his wife, 4 daughters, 1 son, and his mother. He also has 1 surviving brother and 5 sisters. Please advise on the following:

1. What fraction of the estate will each heir receive?

2. In terms of dividing the assets among the heirs: is each heir entitled to a share of the business? Or can some receive their share in cash whilst others receive a part of the business as their share?

3. If an heir who is entitled to a share of the business decides that she does not want her part of the business and would rather like to take her share of the business in monetary value, what value should be used to calculate how much she should be paid out? Should we use the current value of the business or the value of the business at the time of his death, in order to calculate the amount that she should be paid out?

NB: During these 2 years, whilst the estate was being wound up, my mother and brother have been running the business, for which they take a salary (like any other worker). Money from the business was also used for running my father's household (rent, etc.), as he would normally do whilst he was alive. The remaining profits generated during this time have remained in the business. (Please indicate if this has any bearing on the estate distribution.) 


1. The estate will be divided into 144 equal shares and distributed as follows:
Wife will receive 18 shares
Mother will receive 24 shares
Son will receive 34 shares
Each daughter will receive 17 shares

2. If the heirs agree on doing the distribution in this way then it is permissible.

3. The value of her share of the business according to the current value.

It is permissible for the mother and son to take a salary for their work if agreed to by the rest of the heirs.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)