Navigating Inheritance Law and Estate Planning in Israel: A Comprehensive Guide

By: Adv. Eli Shimony

Inheritance law and estate planning are essential facets of personal finance and wealth management, ensuring the orderly transfer of assets, property, and wealth between generations. Understanding the principles of Israeli inheritance law, from creating a will to navigating succession disputes and inheritance taxes, is vital for families and individuals seeking to safeguard their legacies and provide for their loved ones. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of inheritance law in Israel, highlighting the crucial aspects of wills, probate, succession, and estate planning.

Israeli inheritance law is predominantly governed by the Inheritance Law of 1965, which dictates the rules and regulations for will creation, asset distribution, and estate administration. Key aspects of the law include the difference between testate and intestate succession, legal capacity, and inheritance rights, as well as the roles of executors and administrators in the estate distribution process. Additionally, Israeli inheritance law addresses complex inheritance situations involving international estates, non-Jewish residents, and blended families.

To navigate the complexities of Israeli inheritance law and estate planning effectively, partnering with an experienced law firm is invaluable. Skilled attorneys adept in inheritance law can provide comprehensive consultation on creating a legally valid will, offer guidance throughout probate and estate administration processes, and represent clients in inheritance disputes and litigation.

In the following sections, we will examine the essential elements of Israeli inheritance law, providing valuable insights into drafting wills, the probate process, and estate planning strategies. Moreover, we emphasize the importance of partnering with a reputable law firm to ensure the seamless transfer of wealth and assets to the next generation while minimizing legal disputes and taxation.

Drafting Wills in Israel: Types, Requirements, and Legal Considerations

Creating a legally valid will in Israel requires complying with specific requirements and regulations:

Types of Wills – Israeli inheritance law recognizes several types of wills, including written wills, oral wills, and holographic wills. Each type of will has unique requirements, such as witnesses, notarization, or specific wording.

Testamentary Capacity – To create a legally valid will in Israel, the testator must possess the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of their actions, as well as have knowledge of their assets and beneficiaries.

Legal Formalities – The Inheritance Law of 1965 sets out the formalities that must be met for a will to be legally binding, including requirements related to the testator’s signature, witnesses, and notarization. Failure to adhere to these requirements may result in an invalidated will.

Foreign Wills – Israeli courts generally recognize foreign wills, provided they are considered valid under the laws of the testator’s domicile or nationality. If the foreign will in question also covers assets located in Israel, the court may require translation or additional formalities to prove its validity.

The Israeli Probate Process: Granting Testamentary Authority and Estate Administration

Probate is the legal process that governs the validation, administration, and distribution of a deceased person’s estate in Israel:

Application for Probate – To initiate the probate process in Israel, an executor or other interested party must file an application for probate at the relevant Israeli court, along with the original will, death certificate, and other supporting documents.

Notices and Objections – Once an application for probate is filed, the applicant must notify all interested parties of the application and their right to object. Any objections must be raised within a specified timeframe, typically 14 days from receipt of the notice.

Granting of Testamentary Authority – If no objections are raised or any disputes are resolved, the court grants the executor or administrator the authority to manage and distribute the estate as stipulated in the will or according to Israeli intestacy laws.

Estate Administration – The executor or administrator is responsible for administering the estate, settling any debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the designated beneficiaries in accordance with the will or intestacy laws.

Succession and Inheritance Rights: Understanding Testate and Intestate Succession

Israeli inheritance law differentiates between testate and intestate succession, depending on whether the deceased person left a valid will:

Testate Succession – In the presence of a valid will, the deceased person’s estate is distributed according to the dictates of the will, provided it complies with Israeli inheritance law.

Intestate Succession – If a person dies without a valid will, their estate is distributed according to Israeli intestacy laws, which prioritize certain familial relationships, such as the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents.

Forced Heirship – Unlike some other countries, Israeli inheritance law does not impose forced heirship, allowing testators to distribute their estate without specific mandatory portions for certain beneficiaries.

Inheritance Rights – Certain family members, such as spouses or children, retain certain inheritance rights even in the presence of a will. These rights may include claims to the deceased’s joint property, pension benefits, or maintenance payments.

Estate Planning Strategies in Israel: Minimizing Legal Disputes and Taxation

Effective estate planning in Israel involves various legal and financial strategies to minimize disputes and tax burdens while ensuring the orderly transfer of wealth:

Asset Structuring – Proper structuring of assets, such as trusts or holding companies, may help reduce potential inheritance tax liabilities and provide more control over the distribution of one’s estate.

Specific Bequests and Trusts – Drafting detailed wills that include specific bequests and the establishment of trusts can help prevent disputes and confusion among beneficiaries during the estate distribution process.

Tax Planning – Knowledgeable attorneys can help devise tax-efficient strategies to minimize potential inheritance tax liabilities, utilizing exemption rules, gift allowances, and other tax reliefs available under Israeli law.

Dispute Resolution – Proactively anticipating and addressing potential disputes among beneficiaries or other interested parties can help reduce the likelihood of legal challenges, preserving the testator’s intent and the value of the estate.


Comprehending Israeli inheritance law and estate planning is essential for securing your legacy and providing for your loved ones. Partnering with an experienced law firm ensures the smooth transfer of assets and wealth, adherence to legal requirements, and minimization of disputes and taxes.

At Eli Shimony, we provide our clients with expert legal guidance and diligent representation in matters related to Israel inheritance law, wills, estate administration, and estate planning. Our team of dedicated attorneys is committed to working closely with you to protect your legacy and ensure your wishes are carried out securely and professionally.

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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