Title: Inheritance Law in Israel: Everything You Need to Know
The Inheritance Law, 1965 determines that upon a person’s death, their heirs will be their spouse and children first. The law also determines their share in the estate. However, when we want to decide who our heirs will be and what each of them will receive from the assets we have accumulated, we must draw up a will that will override the inheritance order set out in the law.
Inheritance by Law or by Will
When a person passes away, the assets they own are transferred to their heirs. Who are the heirs and what is the share of each of them in the estate? Well, there are two options here: inheritance by law, which is the order of inheritance determined by law and is the default order. Alternatively, inheritance by will, then, each of us can determine according to our personal will, who will be our heirs and what property to bequeath to each of them.
Inheritance by law grants the estate to the spouse and children, and indeed, most people would want their property to pass to them. However, the law determines what share of the property will go to each of them, a division that in many cases does not correspond to our personal wishes.
In addition, according to the law, the entitlement of brothers or parents, for example, to a share in the property, arises only if the deceased died without a spouse or children. Therefore, in any case where we want to deviate even slightly from the arrangement presented above, for example to bequeath part of the property to a brother or parent, we must draw up a will.
Types of Wills
The Inheritance Law lists four types of wills: a handwritten will, a witnessed will, a will before an authority, and an oral will. The most common will is a witnessed will, due to its reliability and because it does not require any special effort from the testator. They must go to the office of the lawyer they have chosen to draw up a will, with two witnesses over the age of 18 who are not interested in the will. The role of the witnesses is to identify the testator and to declare that they signed the will in their presence.
As for the matter of the reliability of the will that we mentioned here, what do we mean? Well, when a person dies and leaves a will, the heirs must apply for an order for a grant of probate, in order to be able to actually distribute the estate. Then, any person with an interest can file an objection to the will, for example, on the grounds that the deceased did not make the will of their own free will and that there was undue influence on them by one of the heirs. The existence of witnesses can refute this claim and give it credibility, so that the court will dismiss the objection and give the heirs the requested order.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Will?
Any person who is legally competent can make a will on their own, independently. However, in this situation, there is a high chance that the testator’s wishes will not be carried out and that the will will be invalidated. Why? For example, because the wording of the will is not clear and it is not possible to understand what the testator meant, because there was a technical defect in the will, because there was a doubt about the authenticity of the document or the testator’s capacity to make a will, and there are many more examples.
Therefore, if we want to make sure that after our death, the will we left will be realized, it is advisable to contact a lawyer to draw up the will. The lawyer will prepare a clear legal document that accurately reflects the testator’s wishes, will include all the assets they own, the exact details of the heirs and will clarify what is the share of each of them in the estate. Yes, if there are changes in the testator’s life over the years, they can contact the lawyer to update the will and upon their death, they will know that the heirs have a clear address to contact to handle the issuance of an order for a grant of probate and everything required for it.
Inheritance law is a complex and important field, and it is advisable to consult with a lawyer who specializes in wills and estates in order to ensure that your wishes are respected after your death.