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Overview: FAQs - Succession Law in Israel Introduction

Published on : 21 Mar 2021

 FAQs - Succession Law in Israel


Inheritance & evidence issues are not preferred to dwell on by most people, but life is fleeting. Life is temporary. After a person has passed away, the future of his property must, or by will, be determined in compliance with the laws of succession in Israel. Inheritance is the common policy of exchanging land and of transferring rights, responsibilities and even titles.

The Succession Law of 1965 ('Succession Law') regulates the law of inheritance in Israel. The Israel courts are responsible for the estate of any person who was an Israel resident or who left Israel's land at the time of his death. In section 1 of the Succession Statute, which is that the estate of an individual goes on to his heirs following his death, there is a default assumption of Israel's inheritance law. This covers the individual's assets, land, copyrights and so on.

Q1. ​What is succession?

If the deceased leaves a will then per the succession law in Israel, the property is transferred to the successor.  The heirs are the individuals, bodies and legal persons that are included in the Will.

Q2. What inheritance laws apply?

The authority of courts in Israel is overland succession. The most important law for inheritance in Israel is the Israeli Inheritance Law of 1965 which stipulates, in any one of the conditions: Israel was the residence of the dead at the time of his death or the inheritance included property or other assets in Israel.

Q3. What happens to an estate if there are no heirs?

If an individual has no legally entitled family who were to be allocated to their properties, his estate passes to the State. The proposal may be forwarded to the Registrar of the Succession Cases at the Ministry of Justice for a Succession Order or to the Rabbinical Courts, subject to local authority.

Q4. What are the types of wills?

Several forms of will are recognised by Israeli law.

Handwritten Will: Written exclusively with the hand-written signature of the Testator. In compliance with Section 19 of the Succession Law, the date of its establishment shall also be indicated in the handwriting of the Testator.

A will in the presence of witnesses: written and dated, signed in the presence of two witnesses by the testator. In the case of the witnesses under Section 20 of the law of succession, the Testator must make it his will and then the witnesses shall swear to the signatures that the Testator has made the declaration and signed the will. It shall be stated in the presence of the witnesses. The Will may be handwritten or typed, but the signatures must appear in the Testator's handwriting and must be signed on the day that the Will was made, not later.

A Will made before an Authority: Under Article 22 of the Law of Succession the Will is a Will before the Authority, the terms of which are proclaimed verbally by the individual in authority, before they are read to the Testator and at its close a document is signed and confirmed by the person in authority on the day the Will is made and in respect to which the Testator has made the declaration.

An Oral Will: also known as "Deathbed Will." This is only possible in situations where the testator is on his or her death bed or considers himself to be in a condition in accordance with Section 23 of the Succession Law. Two witnesses must be made to an oral testament that understands the language of the testator and must document in a memorandum the contents and instructions of the testator and the date and conditions in which the testament was made. The Will shall subsequently be deposited with the Registrar of Succession Cases.

Q5. What happens in the absence of a will?

An individual has the right to leave property in a will to any person he/she wants. The Inheritance Law determines that in the absence of a will, the property is to be divided among close relatives of the deceased, according to how closely their ties with the deceased are related.

In the event of an inheritance, the distribution of this property to the heirs under the statute begins with a proposal for an order of succession, in the absence of a will in Israel. This appeal is either sent to a division of the Succession Registrar's Bureau or to one of the Israeli rabbinical courts. A legal judicial order in compliance with Israel law is the order of succession. It is not obsolescent like a court order, which will be enforceable years after it has been issued. The order does not define the particulars of the allocation of assets to heirs, but only the name and inheritance rights and tax in Israel.

Several documents must accompany the proposal for a succession order. This is why the exact procedural conditions of the procedure of filing for a Succession Order should be addressed with a legal advisor. The exact procedural conditions of the procedure of filing for a Succession Order should be addressed with a legal advisor or attorney. The exact procedural conditions of the procedure of filing for a Succession Order should be addressed with a legal advisor. If the order request is submitted by a lawyer on behalf of an affected party, an original Power of Attorney or a copy of the original shall accompany the request.

Q6. Are wills prepared by a foreigner enforceable in Israel?

Yes. As per the Israeli Succession Law, the will is to be translated by a certified translator

Q7. Who can inherit in Israel?

In Israel, the line of succession is based on blood relationships. Between parents and children and which the deceased's heirs are the closest relatives to them.  The likely heirs of a deceased could also include unborn relatives if their birth date falls within 300 days from the day of the deceased's death.

Q8. Are handwritten wills legally binding in Israel?

The Israeli Inheritance Law promotes the assurance with which wills are implied and respects the legitimacy in certain circumstances of handwritten wills, before witnesses, before a notary or judge or even oral will.

Q9. Are technical objections approved?

As long as the desire and health of a citizen are confirmed, no technical objection to a will can be acknowledged, as articulated by the Israel Court.

 Furthermore, a testament is legal in Israel if the law of Israel, the local legislation in the place where it was prepared, a law on the deceased domicile, or a law on the citizenship of the deceased, by the time the testament is prepared or at the time of his death, is valid.

Q10. How to inherit property according to Israeli Succession law?

The interested party has to file a probate petition for the inheritance of property in Israel and then get an order for the Succession, Inheritance, Probate, court order.  Then proceed with registration of the property in the Israel government database for properties in Israel (TABU)

Q11. What should I do to receive my relative’s land, property in Israel?

To inherit property, a probate petition must be submitted to the Inheritance Registrar or religious court to obtain a probate court order. In the case where this is no will you must submit a petition to the succession court order.   The Inheritance Registrar in Israel automatically passes the petition to Family Court and you can only claim the property and file it in the Tabu – Israel Land Registry Office after you have obtained the Succession or Probate Order at the Israeli Family court.

Q12. Does the law distinguish between Israeli and foreign citizens?

No. It does not differentiate between Israeli citizens and foreigners.

If the person who has died was a resident in Israeli territory, Israeli courts are competent, even if property in Israel is not included in the inheritance. Furthermore, Israeli courts have jurisdiction if the inheritance petition contains Israeli land even if no party has any relationship with Israel.

Q13. Do you need to travel to Israel to present the probate petition and seek the succession order?

No. Your legal representative will, to obtain a probate court order in your name, submit a probate petition and all relevant information including your declarations of affidavit, your legal authorisation and such to the Israeli Probate Court.

Q14. Do Foreign Inheritance Laws apply in Israel?

Foreign laws apply only if they grant inheritance rights to individuals related by blood, marriage, or adoption, it does not grant inheritance entitlements to those not related. If foreign law of the deceased's resident country or national country refers to Israeli law, the Inheritance Law shall be applied in all matters governed by foreign law. But, in cases in which such law discriminates on grounds of ethnicity, sex, gender or nationality, the Inheritance Law prohibits the application of foreign law. Further, such international legislation does not apply to inheritors who are not related to the deceased by blood, marriage or adoption, provided it gives any legitimate rights of heritage (i.e.. except by a last will).

Q15. Is an international probate court order or an international succession order valid in Israel?

No. It must be granted in the same jurisdiction of a probate court in Israel

Q16. Which government body in Israel is liable for petitions for secession, orders and probates?

In Israel, succession and probate orders are carried out by the Registrar of Inheritance and the family courts. The Family Court shall deal with complex cases and cases where a contest has been filed.

Q17. What is the law for property outside of Israel?

The Inheritance law determines that if land is beyond the borders of the State of Israel, then at the time of its passing, the law relevant is the law of its residence. In matters related to inheritance, the legislation applicable is the local law of the country where the property is situated without distinction of the property kind.

Q18. What are the types of inheritance tax?

In Israel, there is no property tax/inheritance tax. Successors living overseas could be subject to their country's tax laws and capital gains on the Israeli land they have inherited.

There is also no Estate Tax in Israel

Q19. Which government body is responsible for issuing Inheritance orders and Probate verdicts?

The Israeli Inheritance Registrar and the decision from there is the family court's responsibility to sign the court order. They have the power, according to Israeli law, to issue inheritance orders, probate wills or intestate succession to heirs.

Q20. How long would it take to solve an inheritance, probate case?

Depending on their complexity of the case and disputes between the inheritors. It could last from 4-5 months to one and a half years.

Q21. What is the remaining spouse going to get in the absence of a will?

The remaining 1/4 stays for deceased children, grandchildren and parents, while the living partner is entitled to receive the deceased vehicle and movable properties and 3/4 of all property of the deceased. The surviving spouse has the right to 2/3 of the property if the deceased has brothers and sisters but no offspring. The remainder is divided among the siblings of the deceased.

Q22. What are the living spouse's property rights?

The deceased's estates are governed by property rights. In the particular case of a married couple, the property left by the deceased is entitled to the privileges the spouse has gained previous to the death of the deceased. Usually, there is an assumption of shared property between partners in the absence of clear exclusions or any arrangement and so the spouse's privilege should first be confirmed before the determination of properties contained in the estate, particularly if the name of the spouse is not recorded as the proprietor of any kind.

Only if the deceased does not have children, relatives or parents will the partner inherit the whole estate. Otherwise, if the deceased is survived by children or parents then the partner shall be entitled to half the property and if the deceased is survived by grandparents, sibling, or another relative, then the spouse is entitled to two-thirds of the property.

The partner has had the right to inherit all of the moveable property of the deceased, including motor vehicles that belong in the family. The living spouse's properties are not part of the estate to be inherited, under the Israeli Inheritance Act. This can entail up to half the value of the couple's properties, because of the application of Law 5733 – 1973 on Spouses (Property Relations), rules of mutual property ownership or a property relations arrangement (for example, a pre-emptive or 'prenuptial' agreement).

The (Property Relations) Law 5743 - 1973 applies to partners who were married on or after 1 January 1974.  This statute determines that each partner has a right to a half the value of his or her property except any property possessed by one spouse prior to marriage.

The rules of shared possession of land resulting from rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court was extended in relation to couples marrying before 1 January 1974. These rules state that where the partner (including spouses publicly identified as spouses) exhibits a "working lifestyle" and "joint endeavor" thus leads to the inference that all spousal property is a collective property.

Q23. What are the inheritance laws for minors?

If the heir of a property has no legitimate inheritance capacity, a guardian may be assigned to benefit the heir. The guardian may be appointed in the will, but such an appointment must be approved by the court and the court may choose a more competent person to act as a guardian. Natural guardians are the parents of the child, but a court is responsible for the whole assignment process which seeks the best of the heir.


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