Specifying Ownership

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Question:

Assalaamu ‘alaikum

Respected ‘Ulama

I am newly-married and we have received certain items as gifts. Is it okay to say that these items belong to both of us or is that ambiguous?

In the case of one spouse passing away, would these belong to the spouse that is living or will they need to be distributed to the heirs of the other spouse?

Does one have to be specific as to who the fridge, washing machine, appliances, cutlery, dishes, lounge suite, mattress, linen, etc. belong to?

If yes, what is the advisable way in which it should be done?

Jazakallah

Answer:

Bismihi Ta‘ala

Wa ‘alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

Respected Sister in Islam

It is essential to identify the ownership of every item. If the gifts were given to both jointly, both spouses will be joint owners, each owning 50% each. If the issues are unclear, both can mutually agree that both will now be joint owners or any one party will be the sole owner. In other words, if an item was in reality owned by the husband but it was mutually agreed that it will now be owned by the wife after assuming complete control and possession, he has actually relinquished his ownership and made her the owner. 

For a detailed article on this issue, see here.

Answered by:

Uswatul Muslimah Panel of ‘Ulama