Thousands of unclaimed Israeli real estate assets totaling 15 billion Israeli Shekels remain unclaimed in Israel. Some of these Israeli properties are owned by Jewish Holocaust victims who invested before or after Israel was created or founded; others are owned by individuals who themselves or their heirs resided in other parts of the world. These dormant, abandoned assets include mostly land, developed real estate, bank accounts, stocks, and bonds.

For many years now, as I have helped families reclaim their Israeli property and asset inheritance, I know first-hand the challenges facing their cases – from proving ownership to understanding the capital gains tax implications to ultimately ensuring smooth probate (or probates) or receiving an Israeli inheritance order and a successful sale of the land.

Locating unclaimed land or abandoned property in Israel is complex, like piecing together a puzzle. It involves many steps and requires an Israeli attorney specialist who can skillfully determine a case’s unique approach and strategy based on many factors, including economic to the heirs/clients.

Locating Unclaimed Abandoned Property in Israel

This article provides a guide for how to find and win the case in abandoned property, land, and real estate in Israel, including:

  • The Estate Process for Reclaiming Abandoned Land in Israel
  • Getting the Right Attorney and Advice Early
  • Unclaimed dormant Israeli bank accounts and Israeli Assets (funds, insurance policies, bank accounts, etc.)

Proving Ownership of Dormant Israeli Property

The beneficiaries/heirs often don’t know about the inherited abandoned property or estate in Israel. Their grandparent may have purchased the land a minimum of 70-90 years ago, and since it remained of little value for decades, eventually, they may have forgotten or abandoned it. Sometimes, the heirs have a vague idea that there may be an asset or property in Israel, but more often, they receive a letter from the state notifying them of the unclaimed Israeli real estate or land.

“Abandoned property” is defined in Israel’s Law as an asset to which no one is entitled and can be treated as an owner or an asset whose owner is unknown.

Determining ownership of lost land, abandoned or unclaimed real estate, and financial assets in Israel needs a diligent Israeli attorney with a deep understanding of Israeli real estate, inheritance, and probate laws who specializes in conducting a proper investigation to trace land and asset ownership and have vast experience in this cases.


In most cases, the title and ownership of the asset are still listed under the name of the original buyer(s), who passed away many years ago. Proving relations to the original owner(s) involves a detailed process that begins with drawing up a family tree.

In the initial consultation, I review the available documents with the client and the family and recommend a strategy for their unclaimed Israeli inheritance case. Yet, I always get an even clearer picture once I see the family tree and analyze its marriage relationships and bloodlines horizontally and vertically to determine how the Israeli inheritance passes to its legal heirs.

The order in which ancestors passed away can influence how unclaimed Israeli property is divided among direct and indirect heirs. For this reason, we gather all relevant data to clarify the family tree’s lineage and chronology.

The most efficient way for our clients to get started in reclaiming dormant estates or real estate in Israel is to provide our firm with all supportive documents for the owner and all heirs who have passed away, including:

  • Wills, Trusts, Codicil documents, and probate court orders.
  • Identification documents
  • Death certificates
  • Birth certificates
  • Brit Milah documentation
  • Naturalization documentation
  • Passport information
  • ANY supportive document signed by the deceased whose name is on the title, aka Tabu.
Locating Unclaimed Abandoned Property in Israel

These family documents build genealogical evidence to accomplish two things: verify original legal ownership and substantiate the rightful heirs in one scheme.

Providing the owner’s identification or passport number may help locate the dormant property or estate in Israel. Our firm uses this information to determine the landowner’s current and, if different, historic title, as well as his or her Israeli ID (or Palestinian ID before 1948) or international ID number from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Europe, Australia, or another country of residence.

Often, gathering documentation for Israeli inheritance property cases requires an organized effort, sometimes even necessitating assistance from our legal team. Whether the family has few heirs and fewer documents to assemble, or the owner’s and heirs’ countries of residence vary, we always advocate for the family to appoint a team leader. This individual, a single point of contact, is empowered to collect all documentation and communicate with all relatives involved, ensuring a streamlined process.

We ensure a thorough understanding of the case by meticulously gathering all necessary documentation to validate the family tree. This allows us to accurately estimate the value of an Israeli inheritance property to its heirs and outline the many steps the case will follow, providing a sense of security and clarity to the families involved.

Locating and Estimating a Property’s Value

Pursuing abandoned Israeli property cases can yield fruitful returns for the heirs, but some cases could lead to a dead end. A skilled Israeli attorney specializing in reclaiming Israeli property and assets can spot issues early and inform you of matters that may complicate a case or reduce its estimated final value.

Locating Unclaimed Abandoned Property in Israel
Israeli Land Title located to reclaim abandoned property in Israel. Click Here to enlarge.

Understanding the Israeli real estate market is critical to understanding the potential value of the property’s eventual sale and, thus, the anticipated value to the heirs. Reclaiming an Israeli inheritance property involves many factors, so it helps to have an experienced Israeli attorney who can advise on the entire process from start to sale.

My 20 years in Israeli real estate and abandoned land enhanced my legal specialization in reclaiming Israeli properties. My clients find it very informative and productive in their decision-making to inquire about both the legal process and the end goal of selling the property. As an added benefit, we save our clients from paying brokerage fees and utilize our resources and experience to have the heirs smooth sailing.

Tax Capital Gains and Historical Taxes for Unclaimed Israeli Assets

Another factor in determining the value of a case is the tax implications of the dormant property or unclaimed Israeli asset. In Israel, Inheritance/Estate Tax is zero and is the same. Yet, depending on the type of asset, a capital gains tax is assessed when selling the property. Also, the year the owner purchased the property may require a different bracket of taxes. For example, any land purchased before 1948 will have a historical tax. Again, we have vast experience in tax planning and will be able to inform you of the tax implications and make a capital gain tax planning or even submit an appeal and optimize a case’s overall return from the land sale.

Probate or Probates? Confirming and Transferring Ownership

Once all documentation has been prepared and the case deemed practical to pursue, we begin the probate process, which seeks the release of the Israeli dormant property or asset and the transfer of its ownership to the rightful heirs.

I assist direct and indirect heirs with locating and reclaiming Israel’s abandoned property, estates, and other dormant assets. Whether a client wishes to reclaim land or any other financial asset in Israel, the asset can be released from the State of Israel only by a probate/s process and a family court order that will determine the rightful heirs and new owners.

The Israeli probate/inheritance/succession process involves many steps to identify and transfer asset ownership, including Legally

  • Verify the heirs with supporting documentation
  • Drafting and executing the probate petition.
  • Translation of the probate petition/s and supportive affidavits.
  • Obtain death certificate(s)
  • Filing the probate petition/s. The original will and or trust by law needs to be submitted.
  • Registrar and from there to family court.
  • Submitting interim requests to the inheritance registrar and family court.
  • Representing in multiple probate processes can take a long time.
  • Representing in Israeli family court to receive a decree/probate/inheritance court order/s.
  • Registering to process the names of the heirs on the Israeli title.

After all, heirs have been legally verified, we prepare the probate petition/s and serve the legal heirs. We also must obtain the death certificate(s) with an Apostille for all deceased heirs. Document translation is usually needed when heirs reside in other countries.

Ultimately, the probate process is submitted to the registrar and goes to family court to get a decree or succession order. With this decree, also referred to as a probate order, an average of EACH probate can take between 6-10 months and again even longer, and rightful heirs can submit a request to register inheritance to register the decree/court order in Israel land registry and title office on their names.

As you can see, probate involves a whole process and various procedures in the Israeli registrar (the equivalent of a surrogate court), the Israeli Family Court, and, eventually, the land registry. It is very time-consuming and demands hard thinking, attention to many details, and a lot of hard work. They often involve multiple probate processes, document translation, and skillful negotiations. Cases to reclaim abandoned property or assets in Israel can take, on average, 1-3 years and sometimes even more. You want a legal firm that keeps on top of every step and ensures the process runs as efficiently and fast as possible.

Once ownership is confirmed, a property sale must be transacted and finalized. By executing this final step for our clients and their families, we save the client the broker’s fees and ensure an efficient property sale so that each heir receives their portion according to the probate/s court order.

Locating Unclaimed Abandoned Property in Israel

Getting the Right Attorney and Assets to Search in Israel

Working with our experienced and pro-Israeli attorneys gives you an entirely accurate picture of what to anticipate.

Our clients usually become aware of a possible unclaimed Israeli inheritance in one of two ways. They receive either:

  1. A letter from the State of Israel Re: Rights to property in Israel in the name of X. File: GM/EG/G #, or
  2. A letter or a phone call from a land hunter who is not an Israeli attorney and is not allowed to practice law in Israel

When contacted by the State of Israel, clients may think that the State can handle the process of transferring asset ownership to the heirs. The State is not allowed to do the legal work necessary to reclaim an Israeli inheritance. Their sole job by law is to inform the relatives and offspring of the dormant land or asset in Israel.

In the second scenario, land hunters in Israel and the U.S. make it a side job to seek out abandoned property in Israel. They function as a broker, which means they don’t have any fiduciary obligations to the heirs to accurately represent the property’s estimated value and discuss capital gain taxes or any other rights or liabilities. A lot of misinformation can result from their efforts. In some cases, families come to us after land hunters try to sign them an illegal representation agreement that commits the families to 35-40% of the property while hiding the block and parcel of the land and other crucial facts about the land, the fact they are not Israeli attorneys and are not allowed to practice law in the state of Israel. Sometimes, the land hunters bring the buyers and sell the land at a low price while the heirs are left in the dark.

Frequently, I get calls from heirs wondering if the letter or phone call they received is valid. We first do the homework to determine if there is a legitimate and viable claim. Early during the initial meetings, I reviewed factors surrounding the abandoned Israeli property and can advise whether to pursue the case.

It can be stressful when relying on a non-professional who only discloses some facts to discover after much effort that the case/s has reached a dead end.

For many reasons, working directly with a diligent Israeli attorney specializing in this niche area is crucial. The search for the land and probate/s process to reclaim abandoned real estate in Israel requires a pro attorney with a proven track record in these cases. You are working with a land hunter who acts as a middleman, which results in added costs and damage to the families. Our attorneys are bound to work for you and will handle your case privately and confidentially. Sometimes, cases involve multiple heirs with different objectives. These cases are best handled by an expert attorney who approaches the case with sensitivity and diplomacy and operates confidentially and diligently in your best interest.

Locating Dormant Bank accounts in Israeli Bank or Unclaimed Israeli Assets and Shares.

Although we have focused on locating dormant, unclaimed Israeli estate, real estate, property, and land thus far, many other types of abandoned and dormant assets in Israel can be classified as “unclaimed assets.” Examples include bank accounts, shares, pension funds, provident funds, education funds, life insurance policies, executive insurance policies, dormant bank accounts, various savings plans, dividends, and stocks, to name a few. Financial institutions, insurance companies, pension funds, hospitals, clinics, corporations, government agencies, and Israeli government corporations can manage these funds.

Locating Israeli Banks and Institutions

Given the complicated bureaucracy of Israeli institutions, the research, due diligence, and the Israeli probate/s process can only be handled by a competent, persistent Israeli attorney with experience and tenacity in locating ownership of abandoned property and assets in Israel. This attorney must also be highly skilled in cases seeking the release of Israeli dormant assets and property to manage the lengthy process efficiently and transfer the title to the rightful heirs. Our law firm has resolved many cases of this kind, and we are well-situated to help you with all the right tools to locate the dormant property or asset in Israel and do the legal transfer of Israeli assets.

We specialize in reclaiming abandoned or dormant property and financial assets in Israel and know precisely what to do and how to do it. Working with us is very cost-efficient and time-efficient for our clients. With offices in Israel and the US, we stay on top of the process at all times and time zones. Please view our many reviews. We are happy to give you a complimentary consultation to get you started immediately and accomplish the mission.

The Aharoni Law Firm represents international clients from the United States, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Israel. Please contact us from the US or Canada at 888-923-0022 or Israel at (972) 3.9055478 or (972) 50.7322688 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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