“If a man dies and he has no son, his estate should go to his daughter. If he has no daughter, his estate should be given to his brother…” (Bemidbar 27:8-9)
It is a mitzvah to follow the Torah’s guidelines in all areas of life, including inheritance.
The Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 400) explains that Hashem is in control of the entire world. He provides people with property with the intention that afterwards this property should be transferred to their children.
A person may not change the rules of inheritance and designate a friend who is a nonrelative as his inheritor. These laws are called “chukas mishpat,” which means they are the decrees of Hashem (Rambam, Hilchos Nachalos 6:1). A father is, however, permitted to give things away as gifts (ibid., 5).
Text Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and Torah.org.