Tzvi Szajnbrum
To ease the immigration and absorption process for Olim

The Israeli Law of Succession Today 2017

A law that concerns us all

Who are inheritors?

Inheritors are successors by law or beneficiaries by will; the law governs the inheritance rights, unless there is a valid will.

Valid will is the key word! If no will was ever written or could not be found, the inheritance rights or the denial of these rights are governed only by this law.

What should not be left out of a will?

A will should be written with the assistance of a lawyer that works in family law. Wills/inheritances law, is very complicated and more and more  courts in Israel are “relying on their own interpretation” when a will is poorly written.

This is why a will must deal with all aspects of the inheritor’s property (even future property) and nothing should be left aside, forgotten or ignored.

Exceptions:

Provident Funds (Kupot Gumel – Penssia) and Life Insurance:  These are not considered for distribution from the estate of the deceased and the beneficiary appearing in the records will automatically inherit them.  Any other assets must be expressly stated in the body of the will.

The state as successor:

As we know, there are always cases when there are no next of kin successors and therefore no inheritors. In this case, there is always one inheritor waiting in line: The State of Israel.

The State of Israel will be entitled to inherit  any assets of the estate by law from any person who has no successors. The funds (inheritance) will be used for any purposes chosen by the State Administrator General and Official Receiver or as it called in Hebrew Ha Rasham Le Ineinei Yerusha under the supervision and regulations of the Israeli law.

Therefore, these are the next of kin successors according to the Israeli Law:

Who can inherit?  (Ministry of Justice’s website).

The system of succession in Israel is based on blood relationships between parents and children, and according to which the heirs of the deceased are his closest relatives – spouses (the nearest relative that is not a blood relative) parents, offspring or other relatives according to the order of succession.  Unborn relatives are also included in the possible heirs of a deceased if their date of birth occurs within 300 days of the date of the deceased’s death.

If the deceased has, no heirs in the ranking referred to in the Law – his estate passes to the State of Israel, which is represented by the Administrator General in the Ministry of Justice.

 Order of heirs:

In the absence of a will, the first right of inheritance is divided equally between the spouse of the deceased and his children.  The spouse receives one-half of the inheritance and the children divide the remaining half between them in equal shares.  In addition to one-half of all the property, the spouse is entitled also to inherit the goods and chattels and motorcar of the deceased, should there be any such items.  A widow is also entitled to receive from the estate, Marriage Contract (Ketubah) payment and increment and in certain circumstances; she can demand maintenance from the estate.

 Common Law spouses (Ieduaa Ba Tsibur):

In the absence of a will – the right of succession of a common law husband or wife of the deceased is equal to that of a married couple. This is correct only if the common law husband or wife are not married to other parties, and when the surviving partner proves that he/she and the deceased were common law husband or wife, and maintained a joint household.

The estate of a deceased who left a spouse but did not leave children is divided equally between the spouse and the parents of the deceased or his brothers and sisters.

The spouse receives 2/3 and the siblings receive 1/3 between them. The spouse only inherits the whole of the estate if the deceased did not leave children, siblings or parents.

Parents of the deceased, his brothers and sisters share the whole of the estate only where the deceased did not leave a spouse and had no children.

The estate of a deceased who left children but did not leave a spouse is divided equally between his children. Even if his children are not alive, the estate is divided between the grandchildren of the deceased.  If any of the children of the deceased has died before him that deceased, child’s share passes to the grandchildren of the deceased in equal shares.

If any of the heirs of the deceased has died after him – his share passes to his heirs under a Succession Order/Will Probate Order.

The estate of a deceased who had no children and did not leave a spouse, parents or siblings, is divided equally between the grandparents of the deceased and their offspring.

The estate of a deceased who has no heirs passes to be administered by the Administrator General and is kept for several years in order to enable heirs that are subsequently discovered to claim their inheritance.  After the time prescribed by Law has elapsed, the estate passes to the State.

A word of wisdom:

It is not hard leaving your assets to those you love and care for.  But you need to do it the right way?

A Kosher testament/will is an inexpensive document providing you and your loved ones or those you wish to inherit your estate with a certainty would be highly respected.

About the Author
Passionate about helping new immigrants, Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law and Notary, founded the Voleh Organization, through which he and a team of volunteers provide “pro-bono” guidance to English speaking new immigrants, helping to ensure their successful integration into Israeli Society. As a former officer in the Israeli army, Tzvi is also able to help lead new immigrants in the right direction regarding the IDF. CEO of The Szajnbrum Group
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