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What Does an Apotropus Do

Anat Levi

Anat Levi

This article addresses the question — What does an apotropus do — building on earlier articles we’ve written, including what you need to know about the apotropus in Israel.  An apotropus is a legal guardian who makes decisions on behalf of an individual, in this case, an adult who becomes unfit to make decisions for themselves. Issues surrounding legal guardianship and enduring power of attorney in Israel are governed by the Ministry of Justice.

What does an apotropus doHow Does Someone Become an Apotropus

There are two main ways someone can become an apotropus, or legal guardian.  One way is for a court to appoint an individual to make decisions on behalf of an individual who is mentally unfit to make their own decisions.  Another way is for an individual to take this eventuality into account — that unexpected accidents or medical issues can occur that may render them incapable of making their own decisions — and choose an apotropus who will make future decisions for them (a process called hankhayot makdimot l’apotropus). 

This is a critical decision to make, especially when large estates or financial assets are involved, as an apotropus makes all important personal and financial decisions.  In order to decide who will be your apotropus ahead of time, it is necessary to draw up an enduring power of attorney.

What Does an Apotropus Do

We often get this question — What does an apotropus do and when do they start making decisions on someone’s behalf?  An apotropus begins to make decisions for an individual when a) they are appointed by the court, or b) when their pre-decided appointment is put into effect by the court.  

Before a court puts legal guardianship into effect, the individual who may be in a mentally unfit state to make decisions is generally still able to legally make decisions and financial transactions on their own. 

Once legal guardianship goes into effect, then the guardian must agree to decisions the individual wishes to make, and the legal guardian can give oral or written consent.  In the event an individual makes decisions on their own without the knowledge of the legal guardian and the guardian only finds out about it later, then this action can be canceled by the guardian within one month.  This applies to larger financial transactions, but it does not apply to smaller financial transactions such as grocery shopping and other small spending fees, even if the guardian was unaware that this occurred.

In order for the apotropus to make larger decisions on behalf of the individual who is no longer fit to make their own decisions, for example, selling real estate, they must first go to the court and obtain a court decision prior to doing so. 

When Should an Apotropus Start Making Decisions 

In order to appoint an apotropus or for a pre-decided individual to obtain the legal responsibility of making decisions for the individual, a physician must evaluate the person in question to determine if they are truly unfit to make their own decisions.  Once a physician makes this decision, then the court will decide that this goes into effect. 

This Series of Articles

This article is one in a series on legal guardianship, including topics such as how to apply for enduring power of attorney, appointing a legal guardian in Israel, documents needed, a living will, and more.  This is closely related to another series on inheritance law which addresses other issues that are important to consider ahead of time, like making a will

Contact Us

If you have wondered what does an apotropus do and wish to learn more about the topic or draw up an enduring power of attorney, please contact us.  Our law office specializes in legal guardianship and inheritance law, and we would be happy to help you.

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