The Israeli law of succession – the Succession Law, 1965 (hereafter: “the law”) declares in section 2, that the inheritors are successors by law or beneficiaries by will; the inheritance rights are governed by the law, unless there is a will.
In other words, whenever there is no will, the inheritance rights are determined by the law.
Moreover, if there is a will that specifies only few assets – those assets that are ignored by the will are subject to inheritance by law.
Those are the next of kin successors according to the Israeli Law:
1. The decedent’s spouse;
2. The decedent’s children and their descendants, the decedent’s parents and their descendants, the decedent's grandparents and their descendents.
Distribution: the estate is distributed between 1 and 2 above, and the preference order is: children precede parents and parents precede grandparents.
All children receive equal share from the estate. The same applies to the decedent’s parents or grandparents among themselves.
Hence, there are 3 basic levels of proximity:
Level A: children and their descendents (grandchildren and great-grandchildren);
Level B: parents and their descendents (brothers, sisters, nephews);
Level C: grandparents and their descendents (uncles, aunts, cousins).
The estate is granted to level A. If there are no live first degree relatives from level A, then it is granted to level B, and if there are no relatives in level B, it is then distributed within level C.
This is the general scheme used to determine succession rights by law:
If the decedent has children – the estate is equally distributed between them;
If there are no children – it is then distributed equally between the grandchildren;
No children and no grandchildren – great-grandchildren;
Only if there is no one in level A, we continue to check relatives in level B.
If the decedent's parents are alive – the estate is equally distributed to them (if only one is alive – half of the estate is granted to one parent, and half – to the deceased parent's heirs);
If both parents are not alive – the estate is equally distributed between the siblings;
If the siblings are not alive - the estate is distributed between nephews (according to their parents' share);
Only if there is no live relative from level B, we finally continue to level C.
If the grandparents are alive – the estate is equally distributed between them;
When there are no live grandparents – the estate is distributed to uncles and aunts (grandparents' children);
No uncles or aunts alive – cousins.
The spouse is entitled to inherit half of the estate if the decedent had children (or their descendents) or parents.
The spouse is entitled to receive chattels, including car that belong to the mutual household, and the rest is distributed between the spouse and the other next of kin:
If the decedent had only siblings (or their descendants) or grandparents – the spouse is entitled to 2/3 (two - thirds) of the estate. If the spouse was married to the decedent for at least three years and lived with the decedent in an apartment (or a house) that is included in the estate – the spouse is then entitled to get all of the decedent’s rights in the apartment and two thirds (2/3) from the rest of the estate.
When the decedent had no children or children descendants, no parents or grandparents and no siblings or their descendants – the spouse is then entitled to inherit all of the estate.
The state as successor- in cases when there are no next of kin successors, the state is then entitled to inherit the estate by law. The funds that are received by the state by way of inheritance will be used for the purposes of education, science, health and nursing services. However, the Finance Minister may bestow from the estate assets payments to a person or entity that was dependant upon the decedent at the time of death or to a relative of the decedent or of the decedent's spouse that is not one of the successors by law.
For uniformity reasons, the gender references in this article are for male. Whenever the reference is for male, it applies to both female and male, and no gender preferences are adopted by the writer.
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