Estate Planning in Israel

By: Adv. Eli Shimony

Estate planning is an essential process for individuals who want to protect their assets and ensure a smooth transition of wealth to their heirs. In Israel, estate planning may be more complex due to the unique legal and religious frameworks that govern the country. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of estate planning in Israel, including relevant laws, regulations, and practices.

The Basics of Estate Planning in Israel.

Estate planning involves the management and distribution of an individual’s assets in the event of their death or incapacity. The primary goals of estate planning are to minimize taxes, ensure that assets are distributed according to the individual’s wishes, and prevent legal disputes among heirs. Essential components of an estate plan include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and guardianships.

Israeli Succession Law.

The primary legislation governing estate planning in Israel is the Succession Law of 1965. This law stipulates that, in the absence of a will, an individual’s assets will be distributed according to intestate succession rules. According to these rules, the surviving spouse is entitled to a share of the estate, with the remainder distributed among the deceased’s children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings, in that order.

Inheritance Tax and Gift Tax.

As of September 2021, Israel does not have a federal inheritance or gift tax. However, this situation may change in the future, and it is essential to stay informed about any relevant tax laws or regulations. While there is no inheritance tax, capital gains tax may be applicable when inherited assets are sold or transferred. It is essential to consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations.

Wills and Testamentary Dispositions.

A will is a legal document that outlines the distribution of an individual’s assets after their death. In Israel, wills can be drafted in various forms, including handwritten, oral, or even recorded wills. According to Section 23 of the Succession Law, a will must meet the following requirements to be valid:

The testator must be at least 18 years old.
The testator must have legal capacity.
The will must be in writing (unless it is an oral or recorded will).
The will must be signed by the testator.
The will must be witnessed by two individuals who are not beneficiaries.
It is crucial to consult with an attorney to ensure that your will is valid and meets all legal requirements.

Trusts in Israel.

Trusts are a popular estate planning tool used to protect and manage assets for the benefit of beneficiaries. In Israel, trusts are governed by the Trust Law of 1979. Trusts can be established for various purposes, including asset protection, tax planning, or charitable giving. Trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable, depending on the grantor’s intentions and objectives.

An Israeli trust must meet the following requirements to be valid:

The trust must have a clear purpose.
The trust must have identifiable assets.
The trust must have a trustee, who is responsible for managing the trust assets.
The trust must have a beneficiary or beneficiaries.
It is essential to work with an experienced attorney when establishing a trust to ensure compliance with Israeli trust law.

Guardianship and Power of Attorney.

Guardianship and power of attorney are essential components of an estate plan, as they allow an individual to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf in the event of incapacity.

A. Guardianship.

Guardianship in Israel is governed by the Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law of 1962. A guardian can be appointed to manage the personal and financial affairs of a minor, a person with a disability, or an elderly person who lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs. The appointment of a guardian must be approved by the court, and the guardian is required to act in the best interests of the individual.

B. Power of Attorney.

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual (the principal) to appoint another person (the agent) to act on their behalf in various matters, including financial transactions, healthcare decisions, and property management. There are two types of powers of attorney in Israel: general and enduring.

A general power of attorney grants the agent broad authority to act on the principal’s behalf, while an enduring power of attorney remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. To create a valid power of attorney in Israel, the document must be signed by the principal and notarized by an Israeli notary.

Cross-Border Estate Planning.

Given the global nature of modern society, many individuals have assets and family members located in different countries. This situation necessitates careful cross-border estate planning to ensure that assets are distributed according to the individual’s wishes and in compliance with relevant international laws and regulations.

Some key considerations in cross-border estate planning include:

Understanding the inheritance and tax laws in each country where assets are located.
Coordinating with legal and financial professionals in each country to ensure compliance with local laws.
Drafting wills and other estate planning documents that are valid in each relevant jurisdiction.
Establishing international trusts or other structures to manage and protect assets across borders.


Estate planning in Israel is a complex process that involves navigating unique legal and religious frameworks. To ensure that your estate plan is comprehensive, effective, and compliant with Israeli law, it is essential to work with an experienced attorney who specializes in Israeli estate planning. By taking the necessary steps to create a well-designed estate plan, you can protect your assets, minimize taxes, and ensure a smooth transition of wealth to your heirs.

Eli Shimony – Israeli law firm represents clients on all legal matters in Israel. For any questions please contact us and we will be happy to assist.
By email: [email protected], By phone: +972-52-2769773, +972-3-5507155.
The above is only general information and does not replace legal advice which is usually necessary before taking legal proceedings.


Adv. Eli Shimony

Attorney Eli Shimony holds a bachelor's degree in law (LL.B) and a master's degree in business administration (MBA), brings a broad legal knowledge in his areas of expertise. In addition, attorney Shimony holds a wide range of professional certifications in the fields of civil law, banking, compliance, intellectual property, corporate law and more... Attorney Shimony's main areas of practice: Civil and Commercial Litigation, Class actions, Mediation and Arbitration, Intellectual Property, Companies, Real estate, Wills and Inheritances, Monetary claims, Crypto Currencies, Banking, Compliance and Investments.

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