So, dying is one of those subjects we all prefer to leave for another day. After all, who wants to think about things like what will happen to the kids, what will happen to the money, etc.? Nearly everyone would prefer to pretend that it will never happen to us, wouldn’t we? However, living in a country like Jordan gives you a different perspective on this topic. In the US, will-writing is encouraged. And once you have kids, it’s incumbent on you to provide for them by leaving your wishes well documented. After all, in a country of individual liberty, you can do anything you want with your accumulated stuff when you die.
There are those who take this so literally that they leave their money to their pets Here are five such stories. Now, is this taking it to an extreme? Of course. But most Americans take for granted that you can leave anything you want to anyone you want. If you have a granddaughter who shares your name, leave her the family heirloom bracelet with the name on it. If your niece shares your love of antiques, give her your 1930 Ford. Basically, distribute your assets in any way you like after you go by writing a will. This includes things (as small as a ring and as big as a house) and money.
So, what about Jordan makes you think so hard? Well, that’s an interesting question. In Jordan, whether you are Muslim or Christian you adhere to Sharia for distribution of assets after your demise. And trust me, what made sense back in 630 AD doesn’t necessarily make sense today… You can write a will if you would like, but the courts will totally ignore it as it has no legal standing. So, what does that mean? Well, for us it means that should something happen to El 3atal, I would get 1/8 of the assets that we have worked hard to build. His parents would also each get 1/6 of the assets. Whatever remains is divided amongst our children. Our son would get 2/4 of the remainder and the girls would each get 1/4 (he gets twice what they do). As untenable as I personally find this distribution on its own, it’s worse if there are only girls.
In that case, after I get 1/8 and the girls get a share, his mom gets 1/6, the remainder goes to his brother. Do the double take, yep that’s right. No men in line, we’ve gotta find one, or something like that… Sigh. If you are very lucky, the men in the family are good, stand-up guys, and provide the assets to the wife and/or daughters. If not… well. So, we’re lucky we had a son. Thank goodness as I would definitely find this skipping my girls for their Uncle to be completely unacceptable.
As you can imagine, I prefer to have as many assets as possible in America where we can choose the appropriate way for them to be distributed. After all, if El 3atal and I work jointly to build a family and a life, to earn money and living, why in the world would I not have full use of that money? And why wouldn’t he? The surviving spouse still has a life to maintain and taking any of the assets available for that away makes no sense at all to me.
Back in the time that this was written, I actually get where it was coming from. At that time, the male family members actually were not only expected to, but required to (at the very least societally) take care of the female members. So, his brothers would get a share because they would be taking in and taking care of his wife and children. No worries. His parents would get a share to offset the amount he would be responsible for in their upkeep. But these days, society doesn’t work that way. Unfortunately, the laws haven’t changed with the times. And even more unfortunately, as Christians we must follow a law that has no bearing and makes no sense in our practice of faith. Just call me hopeful that the voice in the wilderness calling for Christians to be able to leave a will to counteract this unacceptable distribution is successful. After all, if I make the money, shouldn’t I decide what happens to it after I’m gone?