The Dror Harel Law Firm specializes in handling wills and inheritances in Israel and represents many clients in the inheritance field.
Inheritance laws are regulated by both the Israeli Inheritance Law and regulations.
Inheritance laws determine who is deemed a legal heir, the heirs’ identity, the estate’s distribution etc.
Of course, heirs according to the law are the default and the Israeli Inheritance Law determines the heirs’ identity and shares in the estate.
When a person leaves no will and dies intestate, the inheritances laws apply to the heirs’ identity and their entitlement to shares in the estate.
A certain person with two sons and one daughter dies at old age. (Supposing his wife predeceased him and he remained in possession of their entire common property.)
His property includes his home, a lot he purchased as an investment in another town, a savings plan amounting to 250,000 Shekels and a current account amounting to several thousand Shekels.
According to the Inheritance Law, his legal heirs are his three children, in equal shares.
Meaning that each child is entitled to exactly one third (33.33%) of the inherited estate’s value.
Sometimes, when a person dies, one of their heirs files a probate motion and disputes arise between the heirs due to the non-equal distribution of the estate, or heirs that already received considerable funds from the parent in their lifetime, or for other reasons.
Heirs that feel deprived are authorized to file an objection to the probate and raise arguments in support of their objection; they are also required to file an affidavit confirmed by an attorney.
When a person makes sure to draw a will providing their heirs’ identity and the share (percentage) each heir would receive, the will’s instructions apply and prevail over the Inheritance Law.
In a Will, the deceased is referred to as a “testator” and the heirs are referred to as “beneficiaries”.
To express our precise wishes on how our property is to be distributed and not leave the property’s distribution and heirs’ identity to default and legal instructions, it is recommended that we draw a will.
Over the years, our firm in Israel has dealt with drafting many wills and we possess a vast experience in this field and an ability to assist each person with their unique characteristics and their property’s characteristics, in order to word and draw a will that would express their wishes.
A valid will requires two (2) attesting witnesses.
Upon signing the will at our offices in Israel, the lawyer serves as the first witness and the testator could provide the other witness.
Failing that, our firm will provide them with the other witness.
In certain cases, clients ask our firm to sign the will at their homes in Israel, for convenience sake or for medical reasons. Our firm always obliges that request and the attorney drawing the will comes to the client’s home and orchestrates the signatures during that meeting.
In order for a will to be valid and its instructions upheld so that it won’t be easily contested in court, it is crucial to obtain legal assistance from a lawyer specializing in drawing wills in Israel.
The will should be worded so as to include bequests, many fundamental details describing the testator, their property and the manner of distribution to the beneficiaries, and the witnesses’ competency is crucial too.
Upon receiving legal counseling by a lawyer in drawing a will, you realize there are many ways to express your wishes in various situations that could occur following your demise.
For example: a will providing for “an heir for an heir” – in case the first heir we chose has already died when the will gained force.
A will providing for “a succeeding heir” – when the testators are spouses leaving the property to each other but ordering that following the surviving spouse’s demise the property will be distributed to their children.
A will providing for “a contingency” – an heir will obtain a certain asset subject to meeting a certain condition we determined. Also, there are wills with a terminating condition and many other options.
Unlike an inheritance according to the law, where a person’s estate is distributed according to the Israeli Inheritance Law (usually in equal shares between the legal heirs), a person writing a will could leave shares of their property to any person, including non-relatives (a friend, neighbor, nephew\niece).
In addition, we could determine that the property will be distributed between the heirs in different shares and percentages.
For example: a person who during their lifetime gave their eldest son considerable funds, determined in their will that that son will only receive 10% of their estate whilst the remaining three children will receive much larger shares equally, meaning 30% per heir.
Alternatively, we can designate specific assets to certain heirs.
For example: use the will to order that a vehicle will be gifted to one heir, a home to another heir, jewelry and savings to yet another heir, an active business to yet another heir and so forth.
In some cases, the will should include instructions concerning the appointment of an executor.
The executor could be one of the heirs according to the will, someone from outside or a lawyer.
A lawyer counseling a person that decides to draw a will recommends that they appoint an executor when there is considerable or complex property to be distributed between the heirs, or when there will probably be disputes and battles between the heirs over the will’s instructions.
Other special circumstances that warrant an executor are when the heirs include a dependent or incompetent person, or a minor.
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