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Types of Wills in Israel Inheritance Law


Michael Decker

Types of Wills in Israel Inheritance Law

This article addresses the four types of wills in Israel inheritance law and what you need to know about them.  

types of wills in IsraelThis Series of Posts

Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh law offices specialize in a variety of fields, including inheritance law in Israel.  This article is one in a series addressing different aspects of Israel inheritance law, based on the instructions on the Ministry of Justice website under the Registrar of Inheritance Affairs. To read more, see our collection of articles on inheritance issues.  

Four Types of Wills in Israel

The four types of wills in Israel are: a handwritten will, a will given in the presence of witnesses, a will given in the presence of an authority, and an oral (or deathbed) will.  Israel’s succession law stipulates what these four types of wills must include.  If you wish to know more about how to write a will, see our article entitled “How to Write a Will in Israel.” 

A Handwritten Will

A handwritten will is one that is composed and signed by the testator.  This must have the testator’s handwritten signature.  Additionally, the testator must include the handwritten date on which it was written.  For more information on this, see section 19 of Israel’s succession law.

A Will in the Presence of Witnesses

This will must be composed in writing and have a date.  In addition to this, the testator must sign this type of will before two adult witnesses who are not related to each other and who are not relations of the testator.  The two witnesses must then sign their signatures on the will, adding their names in legible handwriting, their ID numbers, and their addresses.  The witnesses should also add their initials to the bottom of every page of the will.

This type of will can be typed or written by hand, but all the signatures must be handwritten.  Additionally, for this will to be valid, the testator and witnesses must sign the will on the date it is composed (the date which is listed on the will). 

It is advisable that one of the two witnesses be an Israeli lawyer who specializes in inheritance law.  This can help prevent the will from being rendered invalid due to mistakes in the process.  For more information on this, see section 20 of Israel’s succession law.

A Will in the Presence of an Authority

Generally this type of will is drawn up by the testator specifying their preferences, and then it is read back to the testator by the authority.  After reading it to the testator, if the testator affirms that this specifies their wishes, the testator then signs a declaration which is then certified by the authority on the date that the will was made.  

One reason the testator may prefer to draw up the will like this is so they can prepare their will in secret and/or without the presence of additional witnesses.  For more information on this, see section 22 of Israel’s succession law.  

An Oral Will (“Deathbed Will”)

This type of will is only permitted in cases when the testator is on their deathbed or perceives themselves to be in this situation.  This will, like other wills, is required to be made before witnesses.  Two witnesses must be present for the oral will to be valid, and both witnesses must be able to understand the testator’s speech.  The witnesses must record what the testator says including the date that this will is made.  For this will to be valid, it must be deposited with the Registrar for Matters of Succession.  In the event that the testator is alive one month after this will was made, it is no longer valid as the testator is not considered to have been on their deathbed. For more information on this, see section 23 of Israel’s succession law.

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If you have questions about making a will or the four types of wills, please contact us.

Advocate Michael Decker specializes in Israel inheritance law and would be happy to discuss this issue with you.

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