Information on a Living Will in Israel
This article addresses the topic of a living will in Israel. Clients often ask us about a living will in Israel and how it differs from an enduring power of attorney, and we discuss this particular issue in the article, “Living Will vs Enduring Power of Attorney.”
What Is a Living Will in Israel
A living will in Israel, similar to other countries, allows an individual to prepare a document, which determines what medical treatment they would like to receive if and when they ever become terminally ill and incompetent. This is discussed in The Terminally Ill Patient Law (Hebrew). An overlapping consideration is power of attorney, which is advisable to draw up as well. However, these are two separate documents, and it is necessary to provide clear instructions to avoid any contradiction between the documents.
How to Make a Living Will
In order to make a living will, an individual must be at least 17 years old, capable of expressing their will and preferences, and considered of sound mind. Generally a living will is made prior to a person becoming terminally ill, although the person may also make one when terminally ill so long as he or she has not been declared legally incompetent. It is advisable to inform family members of the decisions in the living will.
A living will form should be filled out (see this Hebrew form), often in consultation with medical personnel who can indicate the ramifications and medical procedures one might wish to consider. The form needs the signature of two witnesses who are considered neutral parties, meaning they should not have any economic interest to gain if the individual should pass away.
The living will should be submitted to the Israeli Ministry of Health.
In order to ensure that the forms are filled out properly, particularly if the individual and/or witnesses are not native Hebrew speakers filling out Hebrew-language forms, it is advisable to consult with a lawyer. Our law firm assists numerous clients with all legal forms, procedures, and submissions.
Duration of a Living Will
A living will is generally considered valid for five years at a time. However, an individual can indicate their living will is only valid for a specific period of time (less than five years). Every five years, if the individual considers the details in the living will relevant, they can extend the living will by filling out an extension form.
If someone issues a living will, it automatically renders earlier living wills invalid. An individual may also cancel their living will by filling out the required form and obtaining the signature of two witnesses.
Making a Living Will and Power of Attorney
In the event that you choose to appoint someone with power of attorney while making a living will, it is advisable to clearly indicate what should be done if there are contradictions between the living will and what the individual with power of attorney might say. Legal preference is granted to the living will, not the principal having power of attorney. However, if you think that the person appointed with power of attorney should make the final decisions regarding your health, then the living will should clearly indicate that the principal with power of attorney can make decisions on your behalf, even if the decisions contradict your living will.
If you wish to make a living will in Israel or have other questions on wills and power of attorney, feel free to contact us. Advocate Anat Levi from Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh would be happy to assist you with your legal needs.