A carefully prepared will can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones. It can ensure that your assets will be distributed to your family members and others according to your wishes. Here, we discuss four types of wills in Israeli inheritance law.
Four Types of Wills in Israel
Under the Ministry of Justice, Israeli inheritance law recognizes four types of wills. To be valid, each type of will must meet certain requirements. Those types of wills are:
A Handwritten Will
This testator personally prepares this type of will. It is one that is literally written in the hand of the testator. For the will to be deemed valid during the probate process, the testator must have signed and dated it. In some cases, a handwriting expert is called in to authenticate the will. Unfortunately, many people prepare handwritten wills without legal guidance. As a result, the will may contain provisions which are contrary to Israeli law, or it may contain mistakes. If a will has these errors, it may not hold in Israeli family and probate court.
A Will in the Presence of Witnesses
This type of will is the one most commonly used in Israel. Typically, a lawyer will prepare the will in writing according to the testator’s wishes. The lawyer will ensure that it is clear and accurate, and that it comports with Israeli law. To be valid, the testator must sign and date the will in the presence of two witnesses who are not related to each other or to the testator. They must also sign and date it, print their names in legible writing and list their addresses and ID numbers. They must also initial each page of the will. With a lawyer’s guidance and all of these requirements met, the will should withstand scrutiny during probate.
A Will in the Presence of an Authority
With this type of will, the testator may verbally state his or her wishes before one who is authorized by the State of Israel to confirm the validity of wills – specifically, a judge, registrar or notary. The authority will then read the will back to the testator in order to verify its accuracy. If the testator affirms it, then the testator must then sign and date a declaration, which the authority will then certify. This type of will may be preferable if the testator is concerned about beneficiaries learning about the will’s provisions before the testator’s death.
An Oral Will
Some people refer to this type of will as a “deathbed will.” The testator creates the will by making an oral statement at a time when the testator believes that he or she is on their deathbed and believes death to be imminent. To be valid, the statement must be made in the presence of two witnesses who can understand what the testator is saying. They must record the will and deposit it with the Registrar for Matters of Succession. If the testator is still alive one month after he or she made the will, it will no longer be valid.
Israeli Probate and Estate Planning Lawyer
In order for a will to fully and clearly reflect a person’s wishes and meet all legal requirements in Israel, the person should seek the assistance of a knowledgeable Israeli-licensed lawyer. If a will is not properly prepared and executed, it may lead to the very same problems that the testator wanted to avoid by making one in the first place. Will disputes during the probate process can be costly and stressful for all parties.
If you would like to learn more about the role that a will can serve in your overall estate plan and succession laws in Israel, please contact Aharoni Law Firm for a complimentary consultation. A knowledgeable and experienced probate and estate planning lawyer from our Israeli law firm will tailor our advice and representation to meet your unique needs.
For highly personalized legal assistance with the drafting of your will, you can turn to the Israeli probate and estate planning lawyers of our law firm. We can offer decades of hands-on experience in Israeli probate courts and a commitment to meeting all of your objectives. Connect with us today to discuss your Israeli will and other estate planning needs in a complimentary consultation. With offices in New York, Florida, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv, we work with international clients throughout the world.
In the case of inheritance in the absence of asuccession law israel will in Israel (“Intestate”) the distribution of the estate to the heirs according to the law begins with a petition for a Succession Order. This petition may be filed either at a branch of the Succession Registrar’s Bureau or to one of the rabbinical courts in Israel. It’s your choice. Most secular Israelis choose to use the bureau, most Orthodox Israelis choose to have issues like this decided by the rabbinical courts. For a deceased who was a non-resident of Israel but owned property here, the jurisdiction belongs to the Tel Aviv district court.
The succession petition is a valid judicial order under Israeli inheritance law. Like a court order or a decree, it does not suffer obsolescence and can be enforced years following its issuance. The court order does not specify the details of the distribution of assets among the heirs, but only decides upon the identity of the heirs and their respective inheritance rights and inheritance tax in Israel.
The petition for a succession decree must be accompanied by a large number of documents. Much of the required paperwork may now be E-filed online. This can save heirs valuable time, energy, and funds.
It is advised to consult a lawyer regarding the exact procedural requirements of the process of requesting an Israeli Succession Order. Where the petition for the order is made by an attorney on behalf of an interested party, it must be accompanied by a Power of Attorney who functions as your proxy and fiduciary.
The Succession Registrar or family court may nullify or amend a Succession Order (or a Probate Order, which is discussed in a separate article). If the order was granted by a court of law, only a court of law may annul or amend it. Any interested party may request to annul a Succession Order; this right is not limited to the heirs of the estate. One of the most common examples of annulment of a Succession Order is when after the order is given it is found that the deceased had in fact left a will. In such a case the Israeli Succession Order may be annulled and a probate order must be requested in respect of the will.
There is no estate/inheritance/death tax in Israel. However, some non-residents like those residents in the UK may have an estate tax in their domicile above the tax-free bracket of £325,000.
There is no Estate/inheritance Tax for clients from the United States. Residents in Canada, the UK, Europe, and the EU are advised to call us for the exact details. . Please contact us from the US or Canada at 888-923-0022 or in Israel at (972) 3.9055478 or (972) 50.7322688 to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your specific situation and how to navigate successfully through the entire probate and estate process.
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