Anyone drafting a will should consider certain points, while naturally being counseled by a lawyer experienced in this field.
The assets the testator (the person executing the will) bequeaths to their heirs are known as an “estate.”
The estate of an intestate person – i.e., a person that left no will – will be divided between their natural heirs as per the Inheritance Law.
The Israeli Inheritance Law of 1965 allows the testator to leave various special instructions concerning their estate.
A will could include instructions such as the relevant heirs’ identity, whether related or unrelated to the testator, a breakdown of the property, its distribution manner between the heirs and conditions to receiving it, if any.
Adv. Dror Harel has many years of experience in drafting wills in Israel.
Part of the legal service in drawing the will is an in-depth conversation to glean the testator’s wishes and provide a personal advice as to the best way to draw a will that will best realize them.
A will should be worded clearly and in no uncertain terms and reflect the testator’s wishes leaving no room for doubt or interpretation.
A professionally drafted will would probably expedite its probation by the Registrar of Wills following the testator’s demise, so that their heirs could realize their inheritance vis-à-vis the various agencies such as the land registry, banks and insurance companies, and register their rights accordingly.
Before drafting a will, an Israeli lawyer specializing in drafting wills will ascertain with their client whether there are previous personal and familial ties, relatives residing in properties, oral promises or previous wills that could affect the will’s probate or realization when the time comes.
According to the information provided by the client, the lawyer will know how to draw the will regarding each heir and asset, so that all of the testator’s wishes will be realized.
A will drafted independently and not through a lawyer, i.e., not drafted professionally according to legislation and case law could face objections when a probate motion is filed.
There are various objection causes, including undue influence on the testator, absence of objective witnesses and much more.
Executors are only appointed in certain cases: if there are minors for whom the property is to be handled until they come of age and receive their inheritance, if the property is hard to locate, handle or realize, or if the heirs are disputed and do not communicate well with each other.
These conditions will prevent the heir from selling or gifting the property to another individual, and the heir could enjoy the property just as long as they remain its owner.
In Israel, a mutual will is also known as a couples’ will or a joint will.
Couples who draw a mutual will guarantee that their wishes will be realized even when one predeceases the other.
Such wills are usually drawn to ensure that the surviving spouse could reside in the apartment for the rest of their lives and own all of the funds and properties during their lifetime, and the other heirs will receive their shares only after the surviving spouse’s demise.
A mutual will also guarantees the properties to the heirs and alleviates any concern that the spouse will sell the property to another without bequeathing it as ordered.
Heirs could put in writing their agreement concerning the division of the estate included in the will, prior to its actual distribution.
For example, should two (2) heirs equally inherit two apartments – one worth 2 million and the other worth only 1 million – and the sum of NIS 500,000, they could distribute the estate between them so that one gets the expensive apartment and the other gets the cheaper apartment and the money.
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