Taking possession of certain assets without the approval of the heirs

Q: My wife works for the council. She visits properties where the tenant has died and left a lot of valuable stuff.:

a) Can she take the items because. If she needs to look for an heir and she finds just one heir, who gives her permission to take the stuff (without regard for any other heirs that may be alive), can she then take it?

b) If she can’t find any heirs, then the council will put up a notice on the
door saying that the items will soon be removed. After that, the contractors will be called in and they will pack everything up and dispose of it (or keep it for themselves). Instead of leaving it for the contractors, can she then take this wealth instead?

الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب

A: If she is given permission to keep the property by all the heirs who must also be adult she can keep the property.  If she is given permission by only some of the heirs then she can keep only their share of the property.  If she is not given permission at all or she cannot locate the heirs then she cannot take the property.  In such case, given that the council has a policy for disposing of such property she cannot take it of her own volition. However, if the council gives her permission to take the property and she is destitute herself then she may take it for herself.  If she is not destitute, then she must either donate it to one who is or utilise it in public welfare projects.

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