Wills and Inheritance

As a general rule, wishes expressed in a Will are respected, whether they be arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory, or even cruel.

Remember and never forget: “Desire is the spiritual son of freedom of choice. Where there is no free choice, there can never be free will.” - Justice Michel Heshin

The Circle of Life begins at birth and ends with death – that inevitable event, which sometimes arrives suddenly, under unexpected circumstances. A person writes a Will in accordance with conditions stipulated in the Succession Law, in order to ensure the preservation of his Last Will and Testament, and to fulfill wishes regarding the distribution of an inheritance.

For this purpose, a person should consult a reputable Law firm with experience in the field. Often a single piece of good advice can solve endless problems for heirs later on.

The Department of Inheritance & Estates at Doron Tikotzky Kantor Gutman Cederboum, fulfills this exact role.

Dealing with the Unexpected

Normally, if a person has not written a Will, or the Will was canceled following his death for any reason, the estate is divided among relatives, in accordance with Inheritance and Succession Laws.

At death, the deceased’s family naturally expects property to be divided among them, often expecting equal distribution. However, it is sometimes revealed that the deceased has chosen a single family member over others, or perhaps left all the property to a non-family member instead of to relatives. For example, the benefactor could be someone who took care of the deceased shortly before his death, or even his beloved football team.

Worst of all, at the height of grief, the disclosure of an unexpected estate distribution, may cause painful conflict among family members. As a coping mechanism, this may lead them to decide to act against the will of the deceased. Such a situation needs to be managed professionally, in a timely and efficient manner, despite the difficult circumstances.

Shock and disbelief, combined with the inability to understand the heart or motives of the deceased, those who feel discriminated against may seek to correct the perceived injustice. This will likely lead to submitting an objection to the probate, which would mean a cancellation of the Will or at least the elimination of certain parts of it.

Types of Wills

Israeli Inheritance Law describes four types of Wills:

  • Handwritten Will, which requires that all of it will be written by the deceased. If the will consists of another script, even if it’s ‘just’ printing a form for help needs, it may be canceled.
  • Written Will in presence of two witnesses who are not of interest or benefit from the will.
  • A Will in the presence of an authority, meaning in the presence of a judge, religious court judge, registrar or a written submission by the deceased himself to one of those.
  • A Will by heart, which is given by one who is dying or believes they are dying, in the presence of two witnesses. Again, it is best that these two witnesses have no vested interest in the Will.

According to our sages: “Upholding the wishes of the dead is a Mitzvah/commandment” – this commandment/Mitzvah forced Biblical Joseph to fulfill his father wishes by returning his remains to Israel. The fundamental concept is based on fulfilling the wishes of the dead, as appeared in the extensive Israeli ruling, in the words of Honorable Justice Meltz, in Engelmanv Klein:

The institution of the Will is built on the principle of respecting the will of the deceased. Wishing to testator, and wanting to cast in contrary to the Law of Contracts, is a one-sided will that is not affected by the desires and wishes of heirs.

Section 54 to the Succession Law, 1965 (“Succession Law”) states that a Will is interpreted according to the intentions of the testator opinion. This interpretation is according to the subjective purpose. There may be cases where there is a gap between the meaning of the Will to the wishes of the testator, for example, if the interpreter will refer only to the Will’s terminology, without giving significance to the circumstances at the time of writing, which does not reflect the intentions of the testator subjective opinion.

The Wills’ purposes are the destinations, goals and interests which the Will is designed to achieve. The analyst should choose the meaning that more than any other meaning, achieves the purpose that underlies the Will. This can be proven through evidence, or by a way of assumption as to the real wishes of the individual testator. As long as the assumption is not contradicted, we take it as being the real desire of the testator. There are situations where there is a conflict between the objective and subjective purpose, and the subjective purpose takes priority.

Therefore, and in order to plan meticulously as possible, what happens to our assets after we die, there is a need for legal counsel.

Doron Tikotzky Kantor Gutman Cederboum has extensive experience in the preparation and planning of Wills, and also in litigation in the various courts, in protecting Wills or resisting to it. The Firm provides you with peace of mind, to ensure the fulfillment on your Will according to your wishes. 

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