Islamic fintech company buys law firm specialising in Shari’ah wills

Rashid: More of a marriage than an acquisition

A law firm specialising in Islamic wills has been acquired in a seven-figure deal by a fintech company providing Shari’ah-compliant financial services.

As well as I Will Solicitors, based in Birmingham, Wahed has bought True Wills, which it said was the UK’s first fully online Islamic wills service.

Wahed offers “ethical and halal investing” through a digital platform. Founded in 2015 in the US, it has over 300,000 customers in the US, UK, Malaysia and other countries, and last month opened a physical branch in central London.

I Will, which has 10 fee-earners, was set up in 2007 by Haroon Rashid, who it said “pioneered the UK’s first tax-efficient Islamic will more than 20 years ago”. But he told Legal Futures that up to a third of its clients were not Muslims.

The firm will continue to operate as it does now – although its branding may change – but its services will be integrated into the Wahed offering so that users of its app can begin drafting their will.

Junaid Wahedna, the founder and chief executive of Wahed, said: “There is a huge level of demand in the UK for Islamic wills, so we’re thrilled that Wahed is now able to offer this vital service to our investors thanks to the acquisition of I Will Solicitors.”

Mr Rashid recounted how an initial discussion about working together with Wahed turned into an offer to buy the law firm – something he had not previously considered.

He described it as “more of a marriage than an acquisition” as each other’s clients would benefit, while it also provided the law firm access to international clients.

Further, Wahed offered the technology, HR support and resources that would allow the law firm to develop its offering – in time, this was likely to include related Islamic law services, such as a property and family work, he indicated.

True Wills was co-founded by solicitor Mohamed Suleman and Mr Rashid said it would act like a “funnel” for I Will, directing those who needed legal advice rather than just a simple DIY will to the law firm.

Under Shari’ah law, a Muslim must leave at least two-thirds of their estate to surviving relatives – the rest can be bequeathed as they choose – with the Qur’an detailing the shares that each family member should receive.

For example, a husband inherits half if his deceased wife has no children or a quarter if they have, figures that are halved in the case of a wife inheriting. Similarly, where the deceased has both a son and a daughter, the son receives twice as much as the daughter.

Mr Rashid said Islamic wills become a viable area of practice over the past 20 years as greater numbers of Muslims had wealth to pass on and become more aware of their Islamic obligation.

Wahed said 90% of adult Muslims in the UK did not have a will, even though most believed it was required under Islamic law.

Indeed, Islamic tradition states: “It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequeath not to let two nights pass without including it in his will.”

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