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What Happens If Someone Dies Without A Will in Israel (Intestate)?

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Question and Answers on Aharoni Law Firm

When a person dies in Israel without leaving a valid will (intestate), the distribution of their estate is governed by the Israeli Succession Law of 1965. Understanding the general order of inheritance is not just crucial; it’s empowering. It allows you to be informed and prepared for any eventuality, giving you the confidence to navigate the complex world of inheritance laws.


According to the Israeli Succession Law, the surviving spouse is entitled to all movable property owned by the deceased at the time of their death. This includes assets like cash, vehicles, and furniture. The surviving spouse also receives half of the estate if there are children or grandchildren and two-thirds if there are no children but other relatives.


The children of the deceased, including adopted children, inherit the remaining half of the estate (or one-third if there is a spouse). If a child predeceases the deceased, leaving behind their children (the deceased’s grandchildren), the grandchildren take their parent’s share in equal parts.


If no spouse or children exist, the deceased’s parents inherit the estate.


If no surviving parents exist, the siblings inherit the estate in equal shares.

Other relatives:

In the absence of the above relatives, more distant relatives may inherit according to a specific lawful order. This order typically starts with the closest living relatives, such as siblings, and extends to more distant relatives, such as cousins or even more distant relatives, if necessary.

If a person dies without identifiable heirs, the Israeli government takes a structured and fair approach to managing and eventually inheriting the estate. The law specifies a sequence of relatives who are eligible to inherit, extending to distant relatives if necessary. This ensures that the estate is distributed in a fair and orderly manner, providing a strong sense of security and predictability, reassuring you that your estate will be handled with care and respect for the law.

The probate order in Israel is a legal process that serves two key purposes:

  1. Validating a will,
  2. Authorizing the executor to distribute the deceased’s estate according to the terms specified.

In the absence of a will, probate provides a structured framework for administering the estate under the law. This involves detailed documentation and court involvement to ensure lawful execution. Given the potential complexities of this process, we recommend working with an Israeli lawyer when dealing with inheritance matters in Israel. At Aharoni Law Firm, our consultations are free and confidential.