Inheritance Attorney in Israel Helping Clients Secure Their Legacy
While only certain people will require the services of a divorce lawyer or guardianship attorney, one area of family law that impacts every person is inheritance law. We all have property that we value, and we generally have strong opinions about who we want to give that property to when we pass away. Many people also deal with the passing of family members and the legal issues involved with transferring their estate.
It may be uncomfortable to consider your mortality, but a well-thought-out estate plan is one of the best gifts you can give to your loved ones and will ensure they are provided for after your death. However, Israel’s inheritance laws are complex. To avoid the possibility of costly and emotionally draining inheritance issues for your family, you should seek the legal services of a competent, experienced Israeli inheritance lawyer. Hait Family Law can help you create a personalized plan that turns your hard-earned assets into a lasting legacy that can be passed down for generations.
What is an Inheritance?
The term “inheritance” refers to any assets bequeathed to loved ones or friends when a person dies. Inheritance laws govern the distribution of your estate to your heirs or beneficiaries. The items you leave to your loved ones as an inheritance may include:
- Bank accounts
- Estate assets
- Real estate and homes
- Personal property
- Pension and retirement plans
- Copyrights and other intellectual property
There are two different ways that the distribution of these assets can occur. The most straightforward method of granting an inheritance is by creating a valid last will that clearly names your beneficiaries and lists the assets you wish to give them. However, if you die without a valid will, your estate will be subject to complicated Israeli succession laws, and the court will determine who will inherit based on those laws.
How Does Succession Law in Israel Operate?
Inheritance law in Israel is governed by the Succession Law of 1965. This law gives detailed instructions to the family court regarding how an individual’s estate must be split among their heirs if they die intestate, meaning without a will. Due to the intricacies of this law, it is critical to seek the legal advice of an inheritance lawyer if your loved one did not leave a will and you believe you may have a right to inherit. Some basic stipulations of the Succession Law include:
- If the decedent was married at the time of their death, their spouse receives half of their assets in Israel, and any surviving children will split the other half. This includes common-law spouses, as long as they are not married to anyone else, and adopted or illegitimate children.
- The spouse may inherit 100% of the assets if there are no children or other close relatives. Similarly, if there is no spouse, the children may inherit the entirety of the assets.
- If the decedent has no surviving spouse or children, their parents will inherit everything. If there are no parents either, the line of succession goes to grandparents, then possibly other distant relatives.
Of course, this is a vastly simplified outline of the Succession Law, and other aspects of the situation, such as prenup agreements and mutual wills, may impact who inherits what. However, you can get an idea of the complications of sorting out an inheritance in this manner and the high likelihood of the final results not matching what the decedent would have chosen. This underscores the benefit of creating and frequently updating your will to make certain your family is protected.
How Does Probate Work if the Decedent Had Assets in Multiple Countries?
If the decedent only had one will, it must go through probate in all jurisdictions where they lived or owned property. For example, if they only had a will that was created in the US prior to becoming an Olim, it would generally be honored under Israeli law. However, that single will must go through both the US and Israeli probate processes before it can be realized, which can result in extra time and expenses for beneficiaries. If the will was originally written in English, it must be officially translated into Hebrew and notarized before it can be submitted to the family court to begin the probate process.
For decedents without a will, an authorized person such as an heir or their representative must file a petition for succession order with the Registrar’s office to begin the probate process. The requirements for the documentation that must be submitted with this petition are numerous. It can be challenging for heirs to complete this step on their own, particularly from outside of Israel. If you are a foreign citizen attempting to recover an inheritance from a relative who passed away in Israel, our law firm can provide the skilled legal assistance you need to move your petition forward with the least amount of hassle.
One way Anglo individuals in Israel can simplify matters for their beneficiaries is to work with Israeli inheritance lawyers to create two separate wills: one for your Israeli property and one in your home country for your property there. This tactic allows your family to submit both wills for probate simultaneously. Having wills created for each legal system can significantly shorten the time needed for probate and makes the entire process less stressful and expensive for your loved ones.
Can Individuals Outside of Israel Inherit Property?
As the testator of a will in Israel, you are allowed to leave your assets to anyone you choose, including family living outside the country. If you are considering bequeathing property to foreign beneficiaries, you should work closely with a lawyer who is familiar with the inheritance laws of both countries to ensure that there will be no roadblocks to a future transition of assets. Individuals from outside the country are also allowed to receive assets if no will exists. However, the distribution of the estate must follow succession law.
Does Israel Have an Inheritance Tax?
As of 2023, Israel does not have an inheritance tax. This is great news for individuals who are leaving their property in Israel to their heirs. However, the situation may be more complicated if you are a US citizen or own assets in other countries, and you may be subject to the tax laws of those jurisdictions. International clients should consult their situation with a knowledgeable Israeli inheritance lawyer to understand the potential tax burden for their heirs.
How Can We Help You With Your Inheritance Law Needs?
Hait Family Law can assist you with a wide range of topics related to inheritance law. Whether you are an Israeli citizen with questions about wills or you are attempting to realize an inheritance of property in Israel from outside the country, attorney Jay Hait can provide the knowledgeable and compassionate legal services you need. Contact our law firm today at (077) 200 8161 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation to discuss any of the following issues:
- Creating an Israeli will following aliyah.
- Updating an existing will to match your current circumstances.
- Setting up a trust for the care of minor children or individuals with special needs in the event of your passing.
- Bringing inheritance or will disputes before the probate court.
- Drafting a joint will with your spouse.
- Determining whether you are eligible to inherit from an estate under succession law.
- Getting trustworthy information on any other subjects related to wills, inheritances, or estate planning.