Understanding Israel’s Inheritance Law: A Comprehensive Guide

By: Adv. Eli Shimony

Dealing with the succession and inheritance process can be emotionally difficult and legally complex, particularly in a country with its own unique legal landscape, such as Israel. Israel’s inheritance law, a mix of secular and religious legal traditions, is critical to understand for both Israeli citizens and foreign nationals with assets or family connections in the region. Our objective with this in-depth guide is to provide insights into the intricacies of Israel’s inheritance law, the succession process, the role of wills and testaments, and the importance of working with an experienced Israeli law firm adept at navigating this multifaceted legal domain.

Israel’s inheritance law is largely governed by the Inheritance Law of 1965, a statute that establishes a comprehensive framework for the succession of estates and various legal processes and requirements involved. The law outlines an intestacy framework, which establishes the order of succession when an individual dies without a will. This system favors close relatives, such as spouses, children, and grandchildren, with more distant heirs receiving a share only when no closer relatives exist.

However, Israeli inheritance law also recognizes the importance of individual autonomy, granting individuals the right to draft a will and testament expressing how their assets should be distributed. This allows individuals substantial flexibility in determining the future of their estate, ensuring that their intentions are honored after their passing.

Given the distinct characteristics of Israel’s inheritance law and the various legal procedures and documents involved in the succession process, it is essential to consult with an expert Israeli law firm to safeguard both your interests as well as those of your loved ones. Whether it is advising on the most appropriate will format, guiding clients through probate proceedings, or resolving disputes that may arise during the inheritance process, a skilled legal team can make all the difference in your inheritance dealings.

In this article, we will delve deeper into Israel’s inheritance law, exploring the succession process, the importance of wills and testaments, and how an Israeli law firm can provide invaluable guidance throughout your inheritance journey.

Understanding Israel’s Inheritance Law: A Comprehensive Guide

The Succession Process in Israel

Israel’s secular inheritance law, laid out in the Inheritance Law of 1965, governs the process of asset and property succession. It is essential to understand the succession process to ensure a smooth transfer of assets and avoid potential disputes. Key aspects of the process include:

Intestacy: If an individual dies without a will, Israeli inheritance law outlines an order of succession to distribute their assets. Spouses, children, and grandchildren take precedence, with assets divided among distant relatives only in the absence of close family members.

Probate Proceedings: After a person’s death, their estate enters probate, a legal process designed to validate wills, appraise assets, pay debts, and distribute the remaining assets to heirs.

Executor: An executor, either named in the will or appointed by the court, oversees the administration of the estate throughout the probate process.

Working with an Israeli law firm can ensure that the succession process proceeds smoothly, avoiding potential pitfalls and legal complications.

The Importance of Wills and Testaments in Israel

Drafting a will allows individuals to have a say in the distribution of their assets after their passing. In Israel, the law recognizes various types of wills, granting flexibility for individuals to choose the most appropriate format according to their circumstances. Key aspects of Israeli wills and testaments include:

Types of Wills: Israeli law allows for several types of wills, including oral, handwritten, and witnessed wills. Each format has specific requirements and conditions that must be met for the will to be considered legally valid.

Testamentary Freedom: Individuals enjoy a high level of autonomy in determining the distribution of their assets through a will. However, certain legal limitations exist, such as protecting the spouse’s inheritance rights.

Revocation and Amendment: Israeli law allows individuals to revoke or amend their wills during their lifetime, ensuring that their testamentary wishes can adapt to changing circumstances.

An experienced law firm can assist in drafting and updating a legally valid will, ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your intentions and minimizing potential disputes among family members.

Legal Guidance from an Experienced Israeli Law Firm

Navigating the intricacies of Israel’s inheritance law can be challenging for individuals and families, making expert legal guidance crucial. An Israeli law firm can provide invaluable support in a variety of areas, such as:

Drafting and Validating Wills: A skilled legal team can help clients create legally valid wills or validate existing ones, ensuring that their testamentary wishes are honored, and disputes are minimized.

Probate Proceedings: Lawyers can provide guidance throughout the probate process, guaranteeing compliance with Israeli law, minimizing delays, and protecting the interests of both the estate and the heirs.

Dispute Resolution: Inevitably, inheritance disputes may arise among family members. An experienced law firm can help resolve these disputes through negotiation, mediation, or litigation when necessary.

By partnering with an Israeli law firm, you can ensure that your inheritance journey is legally sound, protecting your interests and those of your loved ones throughout the process.

Inheritance Law for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals with assets or family connections in Israel must also understand how the country’s inheritance law applies to them. Key aspects to keep in mind include:

Applicable Law: Israeli courts generally apply Israeli inheritance law to the distribution of assets located in Israel. However, in some cases, they may defer to the laws of the deceased’s country of citizenship.

Real Estate: Owning real estate in Israel may complicate inheritance matters for foreign nationals, as it often triggers an application of Israeli law to the distribution of the property.

Will Validity: Foreign nationals must ensure that their wills are valid under Israeli law, particularly when dealing with assets in Israel, to guarantee proper distribution according to their wishes.

Collaborating with an Israeli law firm can help foreign nationals effectively navigate these complexities, ensuring that their assets are handled according to their wishes and complying with Israeli law.


Understanding the intricacies of Israel’s inheritance law is vital for both Israeli citizens and foreign nationals dealing with succession matters in the country. With expert legal guidance from a reliable and experienced Israeli law firm, you can protect your interests and those of your loved ones, ensuring a smooth inheritance process and minimizing the risk of disputes.

Regardless of your familiarity with Israel’s inheritance law, Emli Shimony and our skilled legal team are here to support you throughout your inheritance journey. Entrust our expert guidance to provide peace of mind during this critical and often challenging process.

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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