FAQs Israeli Estate Law and Probate Procedure

  1. How does one inherit property in Israel according to the Israeli Succession Law?

In order to inherit an asset or property in Israel, you need to obtain a Succession, Inheritance, Probate court Order, and then register the apartment or land in the TABU – Israel land registry office, which is the Israeli government database for property rights in Israel.

  1. What inheritance laws apply in Israel?

Courts in Israel have jurisdiction over inheritance of property in Israel. The main law governing inheritance matters in Israel is the Israeli Inheritance Law (1965) which provides that Israeli courts have jurisdiction over inheritance matters, in either one of the following circumstances: The deceased´s domicile at the time of his death was Israel or the inheritance includes property or any asset in Israel.

  1. What should I do in order to receive my relative’s land, property in Israel?

In order to inherit property in Israel you must submit a petition to the Inheritance Registrar in Israel or the religious court in order to get a probate court order, or succession court order in case that there is no will. Only after you obtain the Succession or Probate Order, you will be able to claim the property and register it in the TABU – Israel land registry office

  1. Does the Inheritance Law differentiate between Israeli Citizens and Foreigners?

No. the Israeli probate court or the Inheritance Law does not differ between Israeli citizens and foreigners whether as the divisors or as the devises.

If the deceased was domiciled in Israel, Israeli courts are competent to rule on any inheritance conflict, even if the inheritance does not include property in Israel. Moreover, Israeli courts are competent if the inheritance includes property in Israel, even if none of the parties involved has any relation to Israel.

  1. Do I have to travel to Israel in order to obtain the Succession Order?

No. your legal representative can file all the necessary documentation including your motion, affidavit, power of attorney and etc in the Israeli probate court in order to get a probate court order on your name.

  1. Are Foreign Inheritance Laws Applicable in Israel?

Foreign inheritance laws may apply, but not if they grant inheritance rights to those not related to the deceased by blood, marriage, or adoption. If the foreign law of the deceased’s domicile or nationality refers to Israeli law, then the Inheritance Law shall apply in all matters determined by the foreign law; however, the Inheritance Law forbids appliance of a foreign law if such law is discriminating on grounds of race, religion, gender or nationality. In addition, such foreign law is not applicable if it grants any legal inheritance rights (i.e., except by way of a last will) to inheritors who are not related to the deceased by blood, marriage or adoption.

  1. Is a probate court order or a succession order given abroad valid in Israel?

No. in order for a probate or succession court order to be valid in Israel it must be given in the same jurisdiction a probate court in Israel

  1. Which government office is responsible for succession orders and probates in Israel?

In Israel the Inheritance Registrar and family court are responsible for Succession Orders or Probate Orders. Complicated cases and cases in which a contest was filed are dealt by the Family Court.

  1. What Law Applies to Estate Properties Outside the State of Israel?

The Inheritance Law determines that in case an estate includes property outside the boundaries of the State of Israel, the applicable law shall be the law of the deceased´s domicile at the time of his death. In inheritance matters, the applicable law is the local law of the country where the property is located without distinguishing between the kind of property.

  1. What forms of Inheritance tax are there in Israel?

There is no Estate, Inheritance tax in Israel. However, heirs who live abroad are may be subject to tax rules of their country and or capital gain on the Israeli property they inherited.

  1. Who Has the Authority to Issue Inheritance Orders and Probates verdicts in Israel?

The Israeli Inheritance Register and from there the judgment is done by family court. The have the authority to issue inheritance orders and to probate wills.

  1. How long can it take to resolve an inheritance, probate case in Israel ?

The duration of inheritances, probate cases depends on their complexity and the existence of legal matters or disputes between the inheritors. It can last between several months to a year and half.

  1. In the absence of a will, how is the estate successors determined in Israel?

A person is entitled to leave property to anyone he/she wishes in a will. In the absence of a will, the Inheritance Law determines that the estate should be distributed between the deceased´s close relatives, depend upon how close their blood relations were with the deceased. Heirs of the first degree inherit first. Potential heirs of the next degree inherit only if there are no heirs on the closer degree.

  1. In the absence of a will, what will the surviving spouse receive?

The surviving spouse is entitled to receive the deceased´s car and movable assets as well as 3/4 of all the property of the deceased, while the other 1/4 remains for the deceased´s children, grandchildren or parents. In case the deceased had brothers and sisters but no children, then the surviving spouse is entitled to 2/3 of the estate. The rest is divided between the deceased´s siblings.

  1. I have a handwritten will, is that legally binding in Israel?

Israeli Inheritance Law encourages the certainty involved in wills, and recognizes the validity of handwritten wills, in front of witnesses, in front of a notary or judge or even oral wills under certain conditions.

  1. Are technical objections to a will be accepted in Israel?

Israeli Courts expressed their opinion that as long as a person´s desire and sanity is proven, no technical objections to a will can be accepted. In addition, a will is valid in Israel if it is considered valid by Israeli Law, the local law in the place where it was prepared, the deceased´s domicile law, or the law of the deceased´s citizenship by the time he prepared the will or at the time of his death.

  1. What are the property rights of the surviving spouse?

The estate of a deceased is subject to prior established property rights. In the specific case of a married spouse, the estate left by a deceased is subject to the rights acquired by the spouse prior to the deceased´s death. Normally, in the absence of specific exclusions or another agreement, there is a presumption of joint ownership between spouses and therefore, even if the spouse´s name is not written as the owner of a certain asset, the rights of the spouse should first be clarified before determining the assets included in the estate.

  1. What is the current inheritance law pertaining to minors?

In case the heir of a property does not have the legal capacity to inherit, a guardian is appointed for the property for the benefit of the heir. It is possible to appoint the guardian in the will itself, but such appointment is subject to court´s approval and the court can determine of a more appropriate person to serve as the guardian. The natural guardians are the child´s parents, but the entire designation procedure is supervised by court that seeks the heir´s best.

  1. Is a will that was drafted by a foreigner or US attorney enforceable in Israeli probate court?

Yes.The will needs to be translated by a certified translator according to the Israeli Succession law

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