Inheritance lawyer in Israel: estates, wills and bequests

In order to be able to divide the estate of a deceased person, that is: their property, it is necessary to obtain an inheritance order or a probate order.

What is an estate?

An estate is the sum of everything the deceased owned – their property, assets (including intellectual property assets), rights and obligations.

The law notes that three types of assets are not included in the estate: funds that must be paid after the deceased’s death according to an insurance contract, a pension fund and a provident fund.

The estate is divided among the deceased person’s heirs, according to the instructions in the deceased (testator) left in their will. If the deceased did not leave behind a will, the estate is divided in accordance with the provisions of the Inheritance Law.

What is the role of an estate manager?

In order to distribute the estate of a deceased person, an executor may be appointed on by the Registrar of Inheritance. The administrator of an estate has several duties, among them: locating the heirs, dividing the estate among the heirs and paying off the debts of the deceased.

What is a will?

A will is a document in which a person determines who will inherit their property and assets after their death.

According to the law, any person can make a will with the exceptions listed in the law (for example: a minor or a someone lacking capacity).

The Inheritance Law establishes four possible ways of making a legally binding will: a handwritten will, a will before witnesses, a will before an authority, an finally an oral will.

It is possible to include in the will a provision regarding the appointment of an estate manager who will be responsible for the distribution of the estate among the various heirs. You can even name a specific estate administrator.

It should be noted that a financial agreement between spouses drawn up in accordance with the Property Relations between Spouses Law, 1973, does not constitute a will.

This means that spouses cannot write a mutual will that regulates the distribution of their property at the time of the death of one or both of them by means of a financial agreement. They must separately draft; A. A will – which will include instructions regarding the distribution of their property after their death. B. A financial agreement, which will regulate property matters between them in case of separation or divorce.

Among the cases in which it is recommended to make a will, let’s mention specifically common law couples – it is recommended that “yaduim betzibur” make a will to ensure the surviving spouse gains access to the assets of the departed spouse.

Request for a will execution order

An application for a probate order  is submitted to the registrar of inheritance matters so that the will becomes effective. The application will be submitted by those entitled to inheritance according to the will after the death of the deceased who left behind the will (the testator).

The following details must be attached to the request:

  • Original will
  • Death certificate or request to prove the testator’s death
  • Death certificate or proof of death of other beneficiaries according to the will
  • Confirmation of a notice sent by registered mail to the beneficiaries or a confirmation that a notice was given personally to the beneficiaries.
  • If the applicant is represented by an attorney, a power of attorney must be attached to the application.
  • A confirmation of payment of fee and payment of a notice in Reshumot will also be attached.

Amending or revoking a probate order

When the registrar of inheritance issues an order of will execution, it is final and has the effect of a judgment. However, the legislator gave the Registrar of Inheritance and the court the option to correct or cancel a probate order, in cases where claims or facts were brought before them that were not presented before the will maintenance order was issued (see section 72(a) of the law).

Objection to the probate order

After a request for a probate order has been published in Rehumot, an objection can be filed to prevent the issuance of the order. The objection must be submitted to the Registrar within 14 days from the day the notice was published and provided that the decree has not yet been issued.

Any person may submit an objection,  provided that the conditions in the law are met.

After examining the submitted objection, the registrar will forward the request for a probate order and the objection to the family court, which will rule on the matter.

An attorney specializing in inheritances and wills will be able to assist you in submitting the appropriate applications or objections.

What is an inheritance?

According to the Law of Inheritance, inheritance is the lawful transfer of the property of the deceased to the heir(s).

It should be emphasized: if the deceased left behind a will, the distribution of their estate will be carried out according to what is written in the will.

However, in the event that the deceased did not leave behind a will, the estate will be distributed to the legal heirs according to the order of inheritance established by law.

Application for an inheritance order

In order to distribute the estate of a deceased person who did not leave a will, an application for an inheritance order must be submitted to the Registrar of Inheritance. The request will be submitted according to the local legal authority: the place of residence of the testator, and if it was not in Israel, the request will be submitted according to the location of the assets of the estate or to one of the rabbinical courts.

It should be noted that provident funds and executive insurance are not considered part of the deceased’s estate, and the beneficiary appearing in the records automatically inherits them (to prevent this, it is possible to explicitly state in the will who will inherit the provident funds and executive insurance).

Amending or canceling an inheritance order

Similar to the possibility of revoking or revising a probate order, this possibility also exists here by virtue of section 72 (a) of the Inheritance law.

This is relevant in cases where claims or facts were brought before the registrar or the court that were not presented before the inheritance order was issued.

Objection to inheritance order

You can file an objection to the granting of an inheritance order. The objection shall be submitted in writing to the Registrar of Inheritance Affairs. It is possible to submit the objection after an application has been submitted for the granting of an inheritance order and on the condition that an inheritance order has not yet been issued.

Filing an objection to an inheritance order usually comes from potential heirs who believe they did not receive their fair share.

After the objection is filed, the registrar of inheritance will forward the request for the issuance of an inheritance order to the family court, so that it will discuss the claim and will determine whether they are valid. If the court decides to accept the claims, the requested inheritance order will not be granted. In the event that the court decides to reject the objections, it will issue the inheritance order.

Inheritance mediation

It is not uncommon for the division of the assets of the deceased to cause conflicts between the heirs. To avoid the escalation of the conflict, you can resolve it through the mediation process. Mediation will allow the parties to resolve the conflict relatively quickly and cheaply than taking the conflict to court.

After the parties have expressed their position to the mediator, they will try to lead the heirs to a compromise, which will be approved by the court.

Our office deals with mediation and legal representation of heirs in disputes related to inheritance, drawing up wills, submitting an application for an inheritance order and a probate order, registering inheritance decrees and probate decrees in the land registry (Tabu) offices, drafting an agreement between heirs and registering it in the land registry office.

An inheritance lawyer is available to the client, and provides legal assistance for the benefit of those who claim mistakes or omissions in everything related to the implementation of a will or inheritance.

For any question on the subject, including representation before the Registrar of Inheritance Affairs, which is in the Ministry of Justice, contact our offices

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