When you wish to appoint a family member or an attorney to legally represent you in Israel, you must first sign a document called an Israeli Durable Power of Attorney. Until recently, Israeli power of attorney agreements would expire when the Principal becomes demented, whether due to age, an accident or a disease.
There are several different types of Power of Attorney under Israeli law:
- A Specific Power of Attorney is necessary if you wish to have an Israeli lawyer represent you to handle matters like probate, or if you wish to establish a corporation in Israel, or for any other type of legal representation in Israeli courts. In the US, when you sign a letter engaging your US lawyer to represent you, there may be language included which will give your US attorney “Authority to represent” you, and you may not have to sign a separate Power of Attorney agreement. But under Israeli law, you must sign a specific Power of Attorney Agreement, using the correct form.
- Then there is the Irrevocable Power of Attorney. You will need to sign this type of document if you wish to authorize your Israeli attorney to represent you in real estate transactions. The Israeli Irrevocable Power of Attorney is used together with a valid sale contract to ensure that the buyer’s rights to the real estate will be legally transferred in the Israel Land Registry to the new buyer and vice versa that the buyer funds will be insured in a trust or escrow account. Under current Israeli law, an Irrevocable Power of Attorney will still remain valid after the seller has passed away in order to protect a party’s rights. The correct form must be used to grant an Irrevocable Power of Attorney in Israel.
- If you are not a resident of Israel, or if you are unable to read Hebrew, you will need to obtain and sign an English version of the Power of Attorney. The English version is an exact translation of the Hebrew form.
- Then there’s a General Power of Attorney. Israeli lawyers generally use it in order to conduct due diligence, pay taxes and check in the various government departments. Without a Durable Power of Attorney, this type of power of attorney will not be valid if you become incapacitated or after your death.
So let’s now look at Israeli Durable Power of Attorney. Until recently, there was no such thing as a Durable Power of Attorney in the Israeli legal system. But this changed in 2017. Today, any individual over the age of 18 can execute a Durable Power of Attorney valid in Israel. With a Durable Power of Attorney, you – the “Principal” – are able to appoint a third party of your choice – your “Agent” – to conduct business on your behalf in the event that you should become incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle your own financial and medical affairs.
What Powers May Be Granted to the Agent?
You, the “Principal” may grant the “Agent” powers over your financial matters, your personal affairs, and your medical affairs, making decisions on your behalf.
Advance Directives in a Durable Power of Attorney
Your Israeli Durable Power of Attorney may include any advance directives you choose to be specifically handled by the Agent. These directives could be general or specific.
Which Laws Supervise the Agent?
In a guardianship (or non-durable power of attorney) the Agent is required to file reports with the Administrator General and is subject to its supervision, unless the principal has specified otherwise. With a Durable Power of Attorney, the Principal is permitted to appoint another person, which the Law refers to as the “informed person”, and stipulate specific cases where the agent must submit reports to such person on a regular basis or as directed by the Principal.
Advance Directives in an Israeli Durable Power of Attorney
There are often advance directives specified in a Durable Power of Attorney. Such directives may be in general terms or may specifically prescribe what the agent should do in specific circumstances.
Is the Agent in a Durable Power of Attorney Subject to Government Supervision?
As compared to guardianship, the Agent of a Durable Power is not required to file reports with the Administrator General and is not subject to its supervision, unless the principal has specifically requested this.
Entering a Durable Power of Attorney into Effect
A Durable Power of Attorney in Israel must be deposited online with the Administrator General. Although the Principal may stipulate otherwise, the Durable Power of Attorney only becomes effective after a qualified medical opinion has been submitted to the Administrator General stating that the principal is no longer competent to make decisions about his person or property.
When Can A Durable Power of Attorney Be Amended or Terminated?
The Principal may amend the Durable Power of Attorney at any time and may also amend/change the directives included in the original Agreement. In addition, at the time the Durable Power of Attorney is being drafted, the Principal may stipulate that he/she reserves the power to terminate the Durable Power of Attorney even after it enters into effect. You may also stipulate the circumstances in which it would expire.
When Does A Durable Power of Attorney Expire?
Under Israeli law, the Durable Power of Attorney expires upon the death of the principal. However, the agent usually has about three months after the death of the principal to wrap up business and financial affairs. However, this is only on condition that no other person/s have been appointed – such as a trustee or an executor for the estate.
Execution and Deposit of A Durable Power of Attorney
An Israeli Durable Power of Attorney must be completed in Hebrew and is filed online by an Israeli attorney who has been certified by the Administrator General’s office.