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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.

Last Will Attorney in Israel

Drawing a last will and testament in Israel

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.

14 clauses recommended for any will:

  1. Testator’s statement that they are executing it being of sound mind and competent.
  2. Testator’s statement that they bequeath their property out of their own free will, with no undue influence.
  3. Notice of the annulment of any previous will.
  4. Reservation of the option to amend the will in the future, should the testator so desire.
  5. Testator’s request that their property will first be used to fund their funeral, burial, and headstone.
  6. Estate breakdown: funds, assets of any kind, real estate, residence address including block and parcel, bank accounts’ details, cash, securities, providence funds, advanced study funds, safe deposit boxes’ contents, rights, shares, claims and any other property of any kind in Israel or abroad.
  7. Affording the surviving spouse the right to reside in the residence until their demise.
  8. Heirs’ names and I.D. numbers.
  9. Bequeathal of the heirs’ share in the property.
  10. Determination whether an executor should be appointed.
  11. Special instructions for the executor concerning minors whose inheritance could be contingent, such as: funding a higher education, vehicle purchase, monthly allowance until the age of 18, 21, 25 out of the estate and a final date upon which the property will be delivered to the heir.
  12. A condition stating that should God forbid the testator’s natural heirs, i.e., their children predecease them, their share will be transferred to their children (the grandchildren).
  13. Testator’s signature and date.
  14. Two (2) witnesses – unrelated to the testator in any way – have to sign the will.

Rules for drafting wills

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.

Why hire an Israeli lawyer to draft a will rather than doing it yourselves?

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.

Appointing an executor in the will

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.

Examples of conditions in the will

  • “Alternative heir” – in some cases, the testator wishes to establish a mechanism in which should a certain heir according to their will fail to actually inherit the estate, due to legal incompetence, estate abandonment or any other reason an alternative heir pre-chosen in the will would actually inherit the estate.
  • “Successive heir” – the testator could state that their heir will inherit any or all of the properties and upon the occurrence of a certain event or date such as death or another condition, another heir will inherit the same properties after them.
  • Special conditions – a will could include special conditions, that only when met the heir would be able to receive the inheritance, such as: obtaining an academic degree, completing their military service, marriage, coming of a certain age etc.
  • A personal use condition – the testator could determine conditions guaranteeing that the heir will make a personal use of certain properties.

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.

  • Safeguarding family properties – a testator who wants their estate to remain in the family and not be transferred to their descendants’ spouses in case of divorce can determine that an heir will be entitled to a certain property only if they signed a prenuptial agreement determining their exclusive ownership over said property vis-à-vis their spouse, even should they separate.

A mutual will

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’ agreements in Israel

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.

Looking for an Israeli lawyer specializing in drafting wills?
You’ve come to the right place.
Feel free to approach adv. Dror Harel for any query you may have in this regard.

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