He died before paying Zakah

My father passed away and left us inheritance. He did not pay Zakah on his money for several years. Can we his children pay the Zakah for him? How much would that be? I assume if we do, we have to deduct it from the estate before it is distributed to heirs?

Another problem is that part of the inheritance is in certificates of deposit that pay interest. That is haraam (forbidden), isn’t it? What do we do with the interest portion of the inheritance?

Zakah is an obligation that must not be skipped. You certainly can pay it for him. A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said to him, “My sister vowed to perform the pilgrimage but she died before she could do it. Can I perform it for her?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered, “If she owed money, would you pay it for her?” He said, “Certainly.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Debt owed to God has more priority!” Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbaas (RA) and reported by Al-Bukhaari. Similar hadeeths have been reported by Muslim about making up for a deceased mother’s missed fasting. The analogy clearly applies to Zakah equally.

If your father, may God have mercy on him, kept financial records, you may be able to figure out what his networth was each of the years he did not pay the Zakah and deduct 2.5% of it. The financial records for the CDs are available from the issuing financial firm. You can deduct the interest and donate it, but keep the face value of the CDs.

If you cannot estimate his networth in those years, you can use the latest networth for your calculations.

Finally, and I’m sure you’re doing this already, pray to God to forgive your father for neglecting the Zakah and ask Him to accept your compensation for it. May God bless your family.

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