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Wills and Trusts: Local lawyer talks about their importance in the U.S.

Attorney Hameed Dakroub provided legal insight on the topic of wills, trusts and how inheritance works during an event held at the Pelham Islamic Center located in Dearborn on April 27.

He talked about the many cases that his office has resolved and advised clients regarding the importance of preparing estate planning documents such as having a will or a trust in order to accomplish that client’s goals with regards to their assets, who will watch over their children and how their assets will get distributed while appointing someone in his/her estate planning documents that they trust to manage these affairs after they pass away.

Dakroub delved into the difference between distributing wealth through a will and trust, and the importance of having durable powers of attorney for health care and finances, yet still incorporate Islamic law principles for those who wish to follow Islamic decree.

Leaving a will or a trust and other estate planning documents are important for an individual to provide instructions on personal specifications regarding burials, distribution of wealth, assets and more, after his/her death.Every estate plan is unique. Attorney Dakroub said every family member is evaluated differently, depending on family situation, family type, their assets and more. Not everyone needs a will, and there are alternatives to wills and trusts depending on the assets they own, such as if the individuals only own a home or have a bank account.

However, attorney Dakroub said those who have minor children, have adult children who are disabled, who own multiple properties or have wealth should consider their estate planning options in the form of a trust.

The wealth an individual leaves behind can be distributed based on the Islamic legal system when specified in a will or a trust if that individual chooses to do so. However, if a person passes away without a will, the American legal system controls who gets what and how much, which is contrary to Islamic legal principles.

Additionally, attorney Dakroub talked about how a trust can help individuals avoid giving according to Islamic principles because trusts work differently than wills. A trust is another option that can coincide with the Islamic legal thought if the client wants to go that route and is an option that avoids having to go through probate court when someone passes away. An individual can create a trust and benefit whomever they please with their wealth, including charities and more.

Advantages of a trust ar ethat it protects beneficiaries from their own creditors, avoids having family members go through probate court, is private (unlike a will which becomes public through the court system), and it builds flexibility. Many people do not realize that wills do not avoid probate court.

Your family still has to go through the court system to inherit your assets. However, your family does not need to go through the court system with a properly funded trust. Some trusts can be revocable during one’s lifetime, which become irrevocable once an individual passes away. Revocable trusts become irrevocable upon the passing of an individual because at the time of passing, it can no longer be changed which provides protection to the beneficiaries of the trust and to the individual’s after-death wishes.

Although the cost of a will is cheaper than a trust, wills become more expensive as they require court intervention upon an individual’s passing which also becomes time consuming in the long run, hence why most individuals end up choosing a trust over a will. Attorney Dakroub emphasized the importance of having a powers of attorney specifically for the purpose of having a spokesperson on an individual’s behalf regarding one’s health care and finances while the person is alive but cannot make their own decisions (i.e. if they are in a hospital and are physically or mentally disabled or need someone to make financial decisions for them if they travel or are unable to make their own financial decisions).

Without durable powers of attorney, hospitals may require family members to go through probate court to appoint a guardian and/or conservator to make decisions on behalf of that individual, even if the family members are spouses or children. Durable powers of attorney can help avoid the time consuming, expensive and frustrating process that going through probate court  may cause.

Peace-of-mind is so important, especially when it comes to the sensitive discussion of setting up an estate plan. For questions or more information, visit or feel free to reach out to attorney Hameed Dakroub directly at 313-401-4488.

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