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Inheritance israeli law by ralaw


Articles - Israeli law.

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Succession Law in Israel - Inheritance by Law
Most people prefer not to dwell on this subject, but the fact is that life is transient.
Upon the death of an individual, the fate of their property must be decided.
Inheritance is the universal practice of passing on property, as well as rights,
obligations, debts and even titles.

But although the practice itself appears in some form in all cultures, the rules of
inheritance are subject to the jurisdiction where the decedent (deceased) died or
owned property at the time of his or her death.

Inheritance in Israel is governed by the Succession Law of 1965 ('Succession Law').
The Israeli courts have jurisdiction over the estate of any person who at the time of his
or her death was a resident of Israel, or who left property in Israel.

The default presumption of the law is stated in section number 1 of the Succession
Law, which is that a man's estate passes on to his heirs upon his death. This includes
his fiscal assets, real estate, copy rights etc.

The law stipulates two ways to bequeath assets: by will or by law. If the deceased has
left a will, the inheritance will be meted out accordingly to the heirs stipulated in the
will. If the deceased hasn't left a will, the heirs will be those stipulated by law,
according to the order of inheritance. These are:

   -   The deceased's spouse at the time of death (the only relation mentioned here
       who isn't related to the deceased by blood; this may include a common law

   -   The deceased's offspring, including illegitimate and adopted children and their

   -   The deceased's parents, grandparents, and their offspring.

   -   In the absence of the aforementioned heirs, the State of Israel inherits the

The inheritance will be divided equally between the deceased's spouse (one part) and
the deceased's children (the other part, to be divided equally among them). These
heirs take precedence over the parents of the deceased and their offspring, which in
turn take precedence over the grandparents of the deceased.

The spouse will inherit the entire estate only if the deceased has no children, siblings
or parents. Otherwise, the spouse is entitled to half the estate if the deceased is
survived by children or parents, and to two thirds of the estate if the deceased is
survived by grandparents, siblings or other relatives. The spouse is also entitled to
inherit the deceased's movable property, including motor vehicles, which were part of
the shared household.

It is important to note that assets belonging to the surviving spouse are not part of the
estate which is to be inherited. These may include up to half of the value of the
couple's assets, due to the operation of the Spouses (Property Relations) Law 5733 -
1973, the principles of joint ownership of property, or a property relations agreement
(for example, a prenuptial agreement or 'prenup').

A widow is also entitled to receive the funds owed to her according to the marriage
contract ('Dmei Ketuba'), and under certain circumstances may be entitled to
maintenance out of the estate. The right to maintenance out of an estate is also
accorded to the deceased's children until the age of 18 (the court may grant
maintenance until a later age in some circumstances), or parents who are in need of
financial support and were dependant on the deceased prior to his or her death.

According to section 6 of the Succession Law, an heir may refuse to inherit his or her
part of the estate, provided the estate has yet to be distributed.

In the case of inheritance in the absence of a will, the distribution of the estate to the
heirs according to the law will begin with a request for a succession order. This
request may be handed to either a branch of the Succession Registrar's Bureau or one
of the rabbinical courts in Israel.

The succession order is a valid judicial order. Like a court order, it does not suffer
obsolescence, and can be enforced years following its issuance. The order does not
specify the details of the distribution of assets among the heirs, but only decides upon
the identity of the heirs and their respective inheritance rights.

The request for a succession order must be accompanied by several documents (one
original alongside three copies):

   -   Two receipts: proof of payment of the government levy on submitting a
       request, from the Postal Bank of Israel.

   -   A Succession Order Request Form signed by the submitter, who must be an
       heir, the estate manager or a creditor of an heir. The submitter's declaration
       must be verified by an attorney, notary, judge or the head of the local council.

   -   An original death certificate or a copy faithful to the original.

   -   Notices to all remaining heirs notifying them of the Succession Order Request,
       including the aforementioned heirs' signatures or confirmation of delivery of
       the notices by registered mail.

It is advised to consult an attorney regarding the exact procedural requirements of the
process of requesting a Succession Order. Where the request for the order is made by
an attorney on behalf of an interested party, it must be accompanied by an original
Power of Attorney or a copy faithful to the original.

The Succession Registrar or a courthouse may nullify or amend a Succession Order
(or a Probate Order, which is discussed in a separate article). If the order was granted
by a court of law only a court of law may annul or amend it. Any interested party may
request to annul a Succession Order; this right is not limited to the heirs of the estate.
One of the most common examples of annulment of a Succession Order is when after
the order is given it is found that the deceased had in fact left a will. In such a case the
Succession Order may be annulled and a probate order must be requested in respect of
the will.

It is important to note that there are no inheritance taxes in Israel.

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