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630. Every Bahá’í is Encouraged to Make a Will and Testament
"In the 'Kitáb-i-Aqdas' Bahá’u’lláh has stated:
"It is incumbent upon everyone to write his testament. It behooveth him to adorn its heading with the Most Great Name, to testify therein to the oneness of God as manifested in the Day-Spring of His revelation and to set forth such good deeds as he may wish to be realized, that these may stand as his testimony in the worlds of Revelation and of Creation and be as a treasure stored up with his Lord, the Protector, the Trusted One.' "
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, September 4, 1982)
631. By Preparing a Legal Will, the Believer Can Dispose of His Estate as He Chooses, Within Limits of Law
"According to the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the making of a will is essentially an obligation of the individual Bahá’í. Each believer is free to dispose of his estate in whatever manner he chooses, within the limits imposed by civil law and after payment of burial expenses and other debts and obligations. There are several ways a believer can leave instructions regarding his burial; there is no objection for such instructions to be included in the will, if the law permits, and the believer so wishes."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Bolivia, October 1, 1980)
632. Neither National nor Local Assembly Should be Named Executor, if the Institution so Prefers
"Should a believer express a desire to make a bequest to a National or Local Spiritual Assembly, you may furnish information as to the correct name and address of such institution, and you are free to inform those who ask that neither the National or Local Spiritual Assemblies should be named as executor of a will."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Hawaiian Islands, January 14, 1971)
633. Bahá’ís Should Make their Will Specifying the Desire for a Bahá’í Funeral—Should Inform the Assembly and the Non-Bahá’í Relatives
"The friends should be strongly advised to make wills specifying that they want their funerals to be conducted under the auspices of the Bahá’í Faith or at least in conformity with its requirements and they should make this known both to the Local Spiritual Assembly and to their own relatives, while they are still alive. In this way it is quite possible that agreements may be reached with non-Bahá’í relatives before death takes place."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of France, August 18, 1972)
634. The Spiritual Assembly Must Carefully Consider Bequest of the Testator—Unreasonable Demands May be Refused
"In the eyes of Bahá’í law a will is sacred and thus, when a testator makes a bequest to a Spiritual Assembly and attaches thereto certain duties and conditions, the Assembly has the responsibility to fulfil them. However, if the will imposes an unreasonable financial burden or a condition which could become an unreasonable financial burden, or if fulfilment of the conditions would be prejudicial to the best interests of the Faith, the Assembly may have no alternative to refusing the bequest, for if it accepts the bequest it is in honour bound to fulfil the conditions."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany, January 10, 1978)
635. A Provision in the Will Contrary to Bahá’í Law Should be Declared Null and Void by the Assembly
"On the other hand, if the testator, being a Bahá’í, makes a provision in his will that is contrary to Bahá’í law (e.g., to bury his remains in a place more than one hour's journey from the place of death), that provision is null and void in Bahá’í law and the Assembly must not fulfil it even if failure to do so would cause the bequest to be revoked in civil law. If failure to fulfil such a condition does not cancel the bequest in civil law, the Assembly is not required to refuse the bequest as it would have to do in the case of failure to fulfil a valid condition."
636. Bahá’ís Are Free to Formulate Provisions of their Wills—We Are not Permitted to Challenge Provisions of Another's Will
"Shoghi Effendi urged Local Spiritual Assemblies to admonish the friends not to overlook the importance of wills. In letters written on his behalf we find the following important points.
1. The friends are free to formulate the provisions of their wills as they please, and the Spiritual Assembly has the obligation to support and enforce these provisions unless, of course, they are in conflict with the principles of the Faith.
2. While it is appropriate and advisable for the friends to deposit a copy of their wills with the Spiritual Assembly, they should not be required to do so, but should be left free in this matter.
3. It is not necessary for the Spiritual Assembly to publish the text of a 'model' will. Each believer should compose his will according to his own wish.
"Other points to remember are that an individual is entirely free to leave his or her possessions as he wishes, provided all his debts are paid, and provided there are no legal limits on the freedom of individuals to bequeath their property. A person's will is sacred and therefore a Bahá’í is not permitted to challenge the provisions of another's will. The civil law in relation to the making of wills is sometimes quite complex. It is, therefore, highly advisable for an individual to consult a lawyer when he makes his will to ensure that his intention is not nullified by some possible breach of the requirements of the law in the drawing up or execution of the will. It is also highly desirable for a Bahá’í to take steps during his lifetime to ensure that he will be given a funeral in accordance with Bahá’í law and that his remains be not cremated. It may be possible to include such a provision in the will, or some other procedure may need to be followed, depending upon the civil law."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, September 4, 1986)