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What Inheritance Laws Apply In Israel?

Courts in Israel have jurisdiction over the inheritance of property. The primary law governing inheritance matters in Israel is the Israeli Inheritance Law (1965), which provides that Israeli courts have jurisdiction over inheritance petitions and disputes 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.

Inheritance Laws That Apply in Israel Are:

Statutory Law

  • Succession Law 1965: This is the primary legislation governing inheritance in Israel, covering both testamentary (inheritance by will) and intestate (inheritance without a will) succession.

Religious Law

  • Jewish Law (Halakha): Jewish law often plays a significant role in inheritance matters for Jewish residents of Israel. Rabbinical courts may have jurisdiction in some instances, applying Halakha principles to determine the distribution of assets.
  • Other Religious Laws: Muslims, Christians, and other religious communities in Israel may also have religious laws that can influence inheritance proceedings.

Fundamental Principles and Concepts

  • Freedom of Testation: Individuals generally can dispose of their property through a will. However, this freedom is not absolute.
  • Forced Heirship (Tzava’at Yad): Israeli law recognizes certain family members, including spouses and children, as “forced heirs,” who are entitled to a minimum share of the estate, even if the will provides otherwise.
  • Community Property: Israel follows a community property regime for couples married after January 1, 1974. This means that assets acquired during the marriage are considered joint property and divided equally upon one spouse’s death.
  • Intestate Succession: If there is no will, the estate is distributed according to specific rules outlined in the Succession Law, prioritizing spouses, children, parents, and other relatives in a hierarchical order.

Probate Process

  • Registrar of Inheritance Affairs: This is the primary authority responsible for handling uncontested inheritance cases.
  • Family Courts: In disputes or complex issues, the Family Courts have jurisdiction to resolve conflicts, validate wills, and issue probate orders.

Taxation

  • No Inheritance Tax: There is no inheritance or estate tax in Israel.