Gift of real estate in Israel – legal advice by an Israeli property lawyer
How to properly issue a gift (matana) when it comes to property in Israel?
Gift of real estate in Israel is known as matana or Heskem matana, and is defined as the free transfer of property to another person. The gift agreement can refer to movable property, real estate, and also different kinds of rights in property. According to the law, the gift contract is completed at the time of transfer of property by the donor to the receiving party. In certain cases, a gift of real estate to a family member is more plausible than leaving the real estate as inheritance. This article by Advocate Alex Brosh will explain how to issue a gift contract in order to best grant the gift of real estate in Israel.
Conditions applying to a gift of real estate in Israel:
The gift contract may contain different kinds of conditions, which must be met by the receiving party (matan al tnai). It should be noted that the fulfillment of these conditions can be demanded both by the gifter and the giftee (donor and receiver), regardless of in whose favor the conditions apply. Also, in certain cases when it comes to observing public interests, the fulfillment of these conditions can be demanded by the Attorney General or his office.
How to make a gift contract legally binding?
It is important to note the difference between the completed legal act of issuing a gift and the obligation to issue a gift. In accordance with the law, in order for the gift contract to be legal, it must be drafted (written). It should be noted that in the case of real estate, the gift contract is considered to be a real estate transaction, and by law the transaction is considered to be a completed legal act only after its registration in the Israeli land registry. Before the registration, the contract is only an obligation to gift the real estate.
How and why can a gift of real estate in Israel be revoked?
The donor may cancel the gift in the event that the receiving party shows a disdainful attitude and behaves improperly towards the donor or his family members.It is possible to cancel the gift in some cases due to a significant deterioration in the economic situation of the person giving the gift. In that case, the donor annulling the gift is not obliged to explain their decision.
The donor can sign away his right to annul the gift in the Heskem Matana agreement.
An example of a fraudulent gift contract being annulled:
The office of Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh in Petakh Tikva handled a number of gift contracts and annulments of the gift regarding Israeli real estate.For example: an elderly woman owned some farm land, and her son forced her to sign away the land in his favor, as a gift, by fraudulent means. The elderly mother was completely illiterate beyond the basic ability to sign her name. She also suffered from hearing problems. Naturally, when the mother learned about the true meaning of her signature on the relevant documents, she immediately attempted to cancel the gift.
We had proven in court that the mother could not understand the meaning of the papers she signed, and under the circumstances, no legally binding legal act could possibly take place. The gift was annulled based on the legal principle of “Non Est Factum” (“It is not my deed”).
Contact the law firm of Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh in Petakh Tikvah and Jerusalem for legal information. We help draft, resolve, and argue contracts that deal with real estate in Israel and inheritance law.