Repaying the deceased's debt in full before distributing the inheritance

Question:

Is it permissible for a son who settled his deceased father’s 30,000 riyal debt, as the father had little money, to take the amount he paid to settle the debt before dividing the estate among heirs who demand their shares?

Answer:

If it is proven that you settled your father’s debt after his death out of your own money, you will be entitled to take it back out of the estate before dividing it among the heirs. If the heirs refuse to pay it back to you, it will be a case of dispute among heirs which is to be brought before Shar’i (Islamic legal) courts. Therefore, you may demand your right through legal proceedings if you so wish.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

  • Date: Muharram 12, 1442 AH
  • Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Da'imah no. 2510
  • Muftis: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz , Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq al-Afify , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Qa'ud