Q. My husband and I live with my parents-in-law. My father-in-law is retired and my mother-in-law is a surgeon (a bread winner). My mother-in-law takes care of most of our expenses such as food, shelter, college tuition, etc. My husband works in his mother's office. My husband and I have more than the zakatable assets.
Right now, my mother-in-law pays zakat for us (on our behalf), and she does it happily. My husband and I are wondering whether we need to pay zakat ourselves or not.
A. Zakat is an obligation upon each individual who has wealth on which Zakat is compulsory. Zakat may be paid by such an individual directly or via a proxy/representative.
Therefore you may pay your Zakat yourself or instruct someone to pay it on your behalf. Although, your mother-in-law is not obligated to pay your Zakat, if she pays it gratuitously on your behalf with your prior consent then your Zakat is valid and discharged. The same applies to your husband's Zakat. Each of you should still calculate your individual Zakat annually, even though this is discharged by someone else on your behalf with your consent.
And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best.
Shafiq Jakhura (Mufti)