Just the Law – How Things Work in Israel Transfer of assets upon death

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Remember the old saying  – “there are two things that are definite in life – taxes and death”?  Well from what I read in the newspapers, with proper tax planning not even this age old adage is not true anymore.  However, I do know that death is something that none of us can escape.  So what happens to your assets when you die?  Just like with taxes, it depends on whether or not you did any planning during your life. 

In Israel, there are two possibilities for the transfer of your assets after your death.  Probate or intestate transfer of assets.  If you planned while you were alive, and you made a will, then the will is generally honored (unless successfully challenged by one of the inheritors or potential inheritors).  When you make a will in Israel, you can register t in the Registrar of Wills, and at least then there generally will be less potential litigation regarding what your final will was and what your intentions were.  If you don’t have a will when you pass away, then after payment of your debts, your assets will pass to your inheritors by law via intestacy. 

How do things pass via intestacy?  In Israel the general rule is that your spouse is entitled to half of your assets and your children divide equally the other half.  If you have no spouse then everything gets divided equally between your children.  No children and no spouse?  Then your assets will be divided by your parents, or if they already passed away then by their siblings.  Of course, the law outlines how assets will be passed if none of these people are alive at the time of death.

The other issue that you have to deal with is whether this all happens in the Rabbinic court or in the secular court.  To find out about that, you have to give my office a call. 

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