Wills in Israel

Writing A Will – Where do you start?

For most of us, the notion that we ought to write a will lingers in the back of our minds long before we finally decide to act on it. I know many people who had that item on their to-do list for many months, and sometimes even years, before they finally got around to it.
Oftentimes, when we finally do act on it – our action is prompted by tragedy – the illness or death of someone close to us.
Our hesitance to approach writing our will is understandable and natural. It forces us to think about our own death and to envision how our loved ones would carry on after we have left this world. It’s hard for us to think about our own mortality, so for the most part, we try to push it out of our minds. Besides, let’s be honest, we usually have far more pressing things biding for our time.
At the end of the day, though, you know you will feel so relieved knowing that you’ve prepared for the future and that your Will was drawn up, signed, and is now safely stored away. Once you’ve done that, you can finally stop thinking about it.

We are here to help you make that happen.

We will patiently guide you through your options and lead you through the process, step by step, until you’ve completed your Will. Then you can kick back and relax – or at least move on to the next item on your to-do list.
This website will provide you with some general information about Wills and Estate Planning in Israel.
Some people like to research a subject as much as possible before contacting a professional. If that’s you – we hope you’ll find this site informative.
Others prefer to get their information directly from a professional. You’ve already taken the first step by visiting this website and reading this page. Are you ready to take one more step? You can reach me here to schedule a consultation.

What will happen if I don’t have a Will?

If someone passes away without a Will, then their estate is distributed according to the default arrangement set forth in the Inheritance Law. Many people are surprised to hear that when someone passes away, their spouse would receive half the estate, and the other half would be distributed among his/her children. This includes even the residential home as well as a joint bank account!
This arrangement might be OK for some, but in our experience, most people prefer a different distribution. For example, many couples would like to leave their entire estate to their spouse, for them to use and enjoy until they pass away, and only then pass their assets on to their kids.Additionally, other problems could arise from the default inheritance by law. For example, if any of the children who now each own a portion of their parents’ residential house end up finding themselves in financial trouble (as a result of a failed business, perhaps), the children’s creditors may demand liquidation of the parent’s residential home, in order to pay their debt.Another challenge is presented when there are inheritors that are still minor (under 18 years old). In such a case, court permission would be required both in order to access funds which the children inherited, and to sell any real estate property which the children inherited (regardless of how small their portion may be).
click here to learn about what happens when someone dies without a Will.

How do I write a Will in Israel?

The Israeli Inheritance Law recognizes 4 types of Wills:
1. Will in the Presence of Witnesses – a will written, dated, and signed by the testator in front of two witnesses. This is the most common type of Will, and this method is used routinely by law firms.
2. Will made before an “Authority” – a will which is created by the testator in front of an authority such as a judge, court registrar, the Inheritance Registrar, or a religious Beit Din. This also includes a notarized Will, since for this purpose, a Notary is considered to be an “Authority”.
3. Handwritten Will – a handwritten will must be written completely in the testator’s own handwriting, and then dated and signed by the testator. In such a case, no witnesses are necessary. (If that’s the case, one might ask: can I just make my own Will? The answer is yes, but the real question is: Is that a good idea? Click here to read about writing your own Will).
4. Oral Will (Deathbed Will) – a Will spoken by someone on his/her deathbed, in front of two witnesses. While such a Will would indeed be valid, it’s more difficult to prove, and one should certainly not plan on creating a Will this way.

Have you given any thought to what you would want your Will to say?
Contact us here and we will help you figure out your options and make an informed plan.