Succession under a will
Wills act to ensure, as best possible, that your assets are distributed according to your wishes once you are deceased. This article will focus types of will that are valid in Israel, how succession under a will works in Israeli law, and whether one should write multiple wills or a single will when they have assets outside Israel. Inheritance law attorneys at the law firm of Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh are here to aid with any inquiries you may have on this topic.
What types of wills are eligible in Israel?
There are four type of wills that Israeli law acknowledges; a handwritten will, an oral will (also known as a deathbed will), a will made in the presence of witnesses, and a will made before an authority. For more information on the types of wills in Israel, see our article “Types of Wills in Israel Inheritance Law“.
Succession across borders: multiple wills vs. a single will
After emigrating to Israel or another country, one often owns assets in both states. This sparks the question as to whether you should write a single will covering all assets, or multiple wills (for every country). Below, we have briefly laid out some (not all) of the advantages and disadvantages of both options:
Advantage of multiple wills:
- Using multiple wills often avoids unnecessary taxes. E.g. in Israel there is currently no inheritance tax, whereas in countries such as England, high levels of inheritance tax exist. Ergo, the matter of taxes during succession under a will could be complicated when using one will for both countries. We advise you to research whether inheritance tax exists in the country where the asset in question is located.
Disadvantage of multiple wills:
- Depending on the country, if there are overlaps, the latest will signed could override any previous wills, causing complications.
Advantage of a single will:
- This is a simple and cheaper option.
Disadvantages of a single will:
- Not all wills are recognized in every country. The jurisdiction with regards to inheritance and succession under a will is often different across borders. Therefore, using a singular will with regards to property / assets in more than one country often creates complex situations whereby the two jurisdictions contradict.
- Sometimes, language barriers can cause complications. E.g. if the will is written in English, a country whose main language isn’t English may have more difficulties validating and recognizing the will.
Often, the fate of one’s assets depends on where your domicile (permanent home) is located. For example, for someone who is domiciled in England, the inheritance of their movable assets (both in the UK and abroad) will be judged based on English law. This means that for someone who has moved from Israel to the UK permanently, the remaining movable assets in Israel will still be taxed under English law.
Similar situations may arise depending on the country of residence and the country of assets of an individual – all circumstances vary. Therefore, contact us at the Cohen, Decker, Pex and Brosh Law Offices for more advice and help on this matter.
Contact us an inheritance law attorney
Here, at the Cohen, Decker, Pex and Brosh Law offices, our inheritance law specialists are happy to help with any further inquiries you may have. We have branches in both Jerusalem and Petach Tikva. Contact us to set up a meeting to receive advice and legal aid.