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Will and Testament

Bahá’u’lláh clearly establishes the making of a will as one of His laws. In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragraph 109, He instructs: “Unto everyone hath been enjoined the writing of a will.” The importance of this law is not to be underestimated, as can be seen from a careful study of the attached compilation of newly translated extracts from Tablets revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Not only is making a will a spiritual duty, “one of the binding laws of this mighty Dispensation", but it allows the individual full discretion to specify how his or her property, including the residence, is to be disposed of, and it is conducive to unity and agreement. Failure to draw up a will is considered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as “disobedience” to the command of Bahá’u’lláh and as “non-fulfilment of the divine obligation", and it leads to the division of the individual’s property according to provisions of the laws of inheritance.
(Universal House of Justice, to an individual, 1 July 1996)


In light of this, it is certainly advisable for a believer to make the necessary arrangements for payment of Huququ’lláh prior to his or her death, in order to avoid complications or confusions which could arise. It should be noted that the question of a legal wording to include provision in a will for the payment of Huququ’lláh after a believer has died is dependent upon so many factors, that it would be preferable to seek legal advice so that wording which is appropriate and in accordance with the laws governing inheritance can be used. Obviously, unless the believer leaves a clear accounting of his or her property and payment of Huququ’lláh to date, if any, it will not be possible for anyone to calculate accurately what remains to be paid at the time of death. While the application of the principles involved in payment of Huququ’lláh may well require subsidiary legislation by the House of Justice in the future, at the present time it falls to the executor or administrator of an estate to apply them to the extent possible, using his or her best judgment and taking into account the information available. Finally, while the payment of Huququ’lláh is each individual’s own responsibility, a believer may be referred to the nearest Representative of the Trustee of Huququ’lláh, who could advise him or her in the light of any specific circumstances.
(Universal House of Justice, to an individual, 1 July 1996)


It is worth noting that the Bahá’í laws of inheritance apply only when the individual dies without making a will. Indeed, one of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Tablets seems to indicate that the very provisions of the Bahá’í law of intestacy are intended as an incentive to individuals not to neglect the duty of making a will early in life.
(Universal House of Justice, to an individual, 1 July 1996)


Unto everyone hath been enjoined the writing of a will. The testator should head this document with the adornment of the Most Great Name, bear witness therein unto the oneness of God in the Dayspring of His Revelation, and make mention, as he may wish, of that which is praiseworthy, so that it may be a testimony for him in the kingdoms of Revelation and Creation and a treasure with his Lord, the Supreme Protector, the Faithful. Note 137 in “The Kitáb-i-Aqdas” adds clarification of the reference in this passage to the Most Great Name: As explained in note 33, the Greatest Name of God can take various forms, all based on the word “Bahá”. The Bahá’ís in the East have implemented this injunction of the Aqdas by heading their wills with such phrases as “O Thou Glory of the All-Glorious", “In the name of God, the All-Glorious” or “He is the All-Glorious” and the like. Aside from these prerequisites stated in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the friends are free to formulate the provisions of their wills as they please, and should compose their wills according to their own wishes.
(Universal House of Justice, to an individual, 1 July 1996)


Your understanding that the obligation to pay Huququ’llah arises during one’s lifetime and is normally to be carried out with lifetime giving is correct, although at the same time it is true that there may be cases where a believer dies without having made provision in his or her will for payment of the unpaid portion of Huququ’llah, if any. The event of death does not remove from a believer the obligation to pay Huququ’llah. Whatever portion is due to be paid is therefore a debt due from the believer’s estate at the time of his or her death. The cost of the funeral and burial, the payment of the debts of the deceased, and the payment of whatever portion of Huququ’llah remains due are prior charges on the estate which must be met before arriving at the amount of the property which has to be divided in accordance with the provisions of the law of inheritance. Thus, whether or not a person makes a will or, having made a will, whether he or she makes provision in it for the payment of Huququ’llah, the Huququ’llah should be paid, like all debts, before the rest of the state is divided.
(Universal House of Justice, to an individual, 1 July 1996)