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Ḥuqúqu’lláh—The Right of God

  • Author:
  • Various

  • Source:
  • Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, April 2007
  • Pages:
  • 37
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Pages 23-24

74. “Your … question centers on the provision for Ḥuqúqu’lláh…”

Your … question centers on the provision for Ḥuqúqu’lláh in Bahá’í wills. Your understanding that the obligation to pay Ḥuqúqu’lláh arises during one’s lifetime and is normally to be carried out with lifetime giving is correct, although at the same time it is true that there may be cases where a believer dies without having made provision in his or her will for payment of the unpaid portion of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, if any. The event of death does not remove from a believer the obligation to pay Ḥuqúqu’lláh. Whatever portion is due to be paid is therefore a debt due from the believer’s estate at the time of his or her death. The cost of the funeral and burial, the payment of the debts of the deceased, and the payment of whatever portion of Ḥuqúqu’lláh remains due are prior charges on the estate which must be met before arriving at the amount of the property which has to be divided in accordance with the provisions of the law of inheritance. Thus, whether or not a person makes a will or, having made a will, whether he or she makes provision in it for the payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, the Ḥuqúqu’lláh should be paid, like all debts, before the rest of the estate is divided. 24
In light of this, it is certainly advisable for a believer to make the necessary arrangements for payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh prior to his or her death, in order to avoid complications or confusions which could arise. It should be noted that the question of a legal wording to include provision in a will for the payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh after a believer has died is dependent upon so many factors, that it would be preferable to seek legal advice so that wording which is appropriate and in accordance with the laws governing inheritance can be used. Obviously, unless the believer leaves a clear accounting of his or her property and payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh to date, if any, it will not be possible for anyone to calculate accurately what remains to be paid at the time of death. While the application of the principles involved in payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh may well require subsidiary legislation by the House of Justice in the future, at the present time it falls to the executor or administrator of an estate to apply them to the extent possible, using his or her best judgment and taking into account the information available. Finally, while the payment of Ḥuqúqu’lláh is each individual’s own responsibility, a believer may be referred to the nearest Representative of the Trustee of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, who could advise him or her in the light of any specific circumstances.
(1 July 1996, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)